More than 40% of Americans struggling with mental health amid pandemic

More than 40% of Americans are struggling with mental health or substance use issues as rates DOUBLE amid the pandemic, CDC reveals

  • CDC surveyed more than 5,400 US adults about their mental health in late-June
  • 40% reported at least one sign of mental health issues, compared to about 20% of Americans who report such symptoms in a typical year 
  • Nearly a third showed signs of anxiety or depression, 11% had considered suicide, 13% were using substances to cope and 26% showed PTSD signs  

About 40 percent of Americans were struggling to maintain their mental health and abusing substances in late-June as the pandemic dragged on, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reveals. 

That’s about double typical rates of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a typical year. 

Nearly a third of Americans reported feeling anxious or depressed, and more than a quarter said they’d felt PTSD-like symptoms, such as hostility, nightmares and flashbacks. 

Although restrictions have been somewhat relaxed in most US states, many Americans have continued to stay home to protect themselves or their communities from COVID-19, and some staples of everyday life remain off-limits. 

Experts warned that the pandemic and lockdowns to try to stem the transmission of coronavirus could trigger an aftershock of mental health issues and suicides. 

Now, as ‘pandemic fatigue’ sets in, the CDC data suggests the feared tide of mental health and substance abuse issues is rising.  

At any given time, about one in 25 Americans, or about four percent of the population, is fighting anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD or another form of mental health battle.  

Coping with fears over coronavirus, isolation from living under restrictions to slow the spread and the stress of the pandemic’s toll on the US’s economic stability have all combined to drive those numbers up. 

To find out by how much, the CDC surveyed more than 5,400 US adults between June 24 and 30. 

In total, 40.9 percent reported suffering from or signs of at least one mental health condition. 

More than 30 percent had symptoms of anxiety or depression. 

As a result of experiences during the pandemic, more than 26 percent of the survey respondents said they were having PTSD-like symptoms. 

In an effort to cope with the additional stress, more than 13 percent of Americans reported that they’d begun drinking or using other substances or upped their intake of alcohol or drugs they already used.  

For 10.7 percent of survey respondents, things looked dire enough to seriously consider suicide, according to the CDC. 

Rates of suicidal thoughts were alarmingly high among the youngest survey respondents, with 25 percent reporting they’d thought about ending their own lives. 

Minority Americans were similarly at higher risk for suicidal ideation. 

More than 15 percent of black respondents said they had considered killing themselves, as did 18.6 percent of Hispanic respondents. 

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The results of the CDC’s survey also laid bare the toll of the pandemic on those caring for sick others who are sick or at-risk. 

Thirty percent of people who care for disabled, ill or elderly loved ones, without pay, said they’d considered suicide, and 21 percent of essential workers, including doctors, nurses and those working in businesses like grocery stores said they’d given it real thought, too. 

All-in-all, rates of anxiety have tripled, rates of depression have quadrupled and suicidality has doubled amid the pandemic.  

And there is no reason to believe that these mental health concerns are going to subside any time soon. 

The CDC stressed that preparation and systems to support Americans through the emotional distress of the pandemic and its aftermath are ‘urgently needed.’  



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