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Depression epidemic in US as one-third of Americans suffer mental health issues during coronavirus lockdowns

Depression epidemic in US as one-third of Americans suffer mental health issues during coronavirus lockdowns

The US is in the midst of a depression epidemic with one-third of all Americans suffering mental health symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The survey of Americans between April and May shows how the mental wellbeing of people confined to their homes, losing jobs, and suffering illness

The US is in the midst of a depression epidemic with one-third of all Americans suffering mental health symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

The survey of Americans between April and May shows how the mental wellbeing of people confined to their homes, losing jobs, and suffering illness has been affected during lockdowns to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections.

The 20-minute “Household Pulse Survey, conducted by The National Centre for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau, found 24 per cent of people showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder, while 30 per cent showed generalised anxiety disorder.



Questions about mental health are part of an emergency weekly survey launched in April to measure the effects of the pandemic on education, employment, finances, housing and health.

About 1 million households were contacted during the latest survey between 7 and 12 May, with more than 42,000 respondents.

When asked questions generally used for screening patients for mental health problems, the survey found 10 per cent are showing signs of depression, four per cent have symptoms of anxiety, and 20 per cent have both.

Young people, women and low-income earners were the most likely to show symptoms, while areas like Mississippi were the most affected with almost half of all people surveyed reporting mental health symptoms.

Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri and Washington, DC, were all particularly affected with more than 40 per cent of adults in the state suffering anxiety or depression.

Mental health disorders are among a list of unintended consequences of the coronavirus pandemic lock-downs the Trump administration is measuring to determine whether to reopen the economy.

As Covid-19 related deaths passed 100,000, other factors being looked at including drug use, unemployment, suicide, crime, starvation, homelessness and domestic violence.

The real-time data would help inform federal and state response and recovery planning, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It was designed to go into the field quickly, to be administered via the web, and to disseminate data in near real-time, providing data users with information they can use now to help ease the burden on American households and expedite post-pandemic recovery,” the CDC says.


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