Mental Illness Through the Pandemic

Elizabeth Glenn, Staff Writer

Through the pandemic, the loss of loved ones, jobs, and other factors have impacted each and every one of us, some in detrimental ways. Before Covid-19, depression rates among adults over the age of 18 were greatly less. Out of 10 adults surveyed, 1/10 people reported having symptoms of anxiety and depression. In 2021, the depression rate went up drastically. 4/10 of those same people reported the symptoms. The mental illness rates increased by over 1.5 million in America. 

For people already suffering from mental disorders, Covid-19 presented more barriers and roadblocks for the future. For people without mental disorders prior to Covid-19, it took away the granted normality that they were so used to having. Thus creating hardships leading to depression and anxiety. Due to worry, stress, and isolation during the pandemic, many felt the pressure rising. Ultimately, higher mental illness rates come primarily from adults in homes that endured job loss and lower-income rates, leading to low-self esteem and distress. 

Communities of color have also been affected. In some cases, more than other races. A high percentage of people from a racial or ethnic minority live in a crowded housing situation, more so than non-Hispanic or white communities. As it is harder to isolate themselves, they are at a higher chance of contracting the virus. Mental health begins to dwindle, as the virus is a greater risk. 41% of white adults reported indications of depressive disorder, as Non-Hispanic Black adults and Hispanic or Latino come in at 46-48%. (Mental Health America) As essential workers contract higher risks of getting the virus, stress levels begin to rise. For those who are new to the illnesses, preventative and corrective measures are taken. 

As for those already struggling with a worsening condition, suicide rates become a real issue. Out of the 41% of people feeling depressed, 11% of them reported suicidal thoughts and even actions during the pandemic. Suicide has extensively been on the rise and is possibly worsening due to the pandemic. We do not yet have enough data on the matter. In 2018, over 40,000 Americans died due to suicide. Close to 11 million people were experiencing suicidal thoughts. (KFF)

The central thought reason for rising depression rates during the pandemic had to do with isolation. Because of safety measures, some people cannot risk being around their friends and family like normal, leading to loneliness. This links directly to poor mental and social health, becoming a big public concern. Some of this is even resulting in a diminished lifespan with a higher chance of a mental and even physical illness. (More information

Young adults and teenagers were hit the hardest by the pandemic. As a teenager, one needs to be socially active in order to maintain their health. With schools closed, businesses shut down, and fewer ways to connect with loved ones, teenagers everywhere have felt as if they are missing out on the adolescence stage of their life. Yet by being separated from daily life, teenagers tend to gravitate to other comforts that may not always be safe or healthy. Despite the downside, there are upsides for teenagers living in these hardships. Job opportunities open up, businesses need help. Anywhere that a teenager applies, they will most likely be hired because of the great need for employees. Unfortunately, depending on the hours and work ethic of the teen, this could result in more unnecessary stress. In a worst-case scenario this could lead to; sleep disruptions, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or actions. 

As the pandemic waves come and go, more tests are being done to find out the effects of misfortune on an average person. Through the years, the world may never recover from the effects of the pandemic on mental health.