According to a report in Nature magazine, the percentage of Americans who experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression increased from 11% in 2019 (Jan.-June) to 42% in 2020 (Dec.), which covers the period from before the COVID pandemic to during the pandemic.
“More than 42% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau in December reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December, an increase from 11% the previous year,” reported Nature. “Data from other surveys suggest that the picture is similar worldwide (see ‘COVID’s mental stress’).”
“I don’t think this is going to go back to baseline anytime soon,” said clinical psychologist Luana Marques, at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who is monitoring the mental-health impacts of the pandemic in the U.S.
According to psychiatrist Marcella Rietschel, with the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, “the distress in the pandemic probably stems from people’s limited social interactions, tensions among families in lockdown together and fear of illness,” reported Nature.
The report also stated that young people, more so than older people, “are most vulnerable to increased psychological distress, perhaps because their need for social interactions are stronger,” and that young women are more vulnerable than young men.
As more studies are done about the pandemic, scientists think “they might eventually be able to show how particular COVID-control measures — such as lockdowns or restrictions on social interaction — reduce or exacerbate mental-health stress, and whether some populations, such as minority ethnic groups, are disproportionately affected by certain policies.”
This reportedly will help health experts and policy makers to better tackle the current pandemic and any future pandemics.