Since pandemic began, number of people seeking mental health screening, showing symptoms up substantially
WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — New evidence shows that depression and anxiety are increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey released by Mental Health America (MHA).
MHA has had an online screening program since 2014. People visiting the website can use screening tools anonymously for free. Screening volume and result comparisons were made from late February through the end of May 2020 versus November 2019 to January 2020 as a baseline.
According to the results of the survey, the per-day number of anxiety screenings completed in May was 370 percent higher than in January, and the per-day number of depression screens was 394 percent higher in May than in January. There were at least 88,405 additional positive depression and anxiety screening results over what was expected, including 54,093 additional results of moderate-to-severe depression and more than 34,312 additional results of moderate-to-severe anxiety, suggesting that both volume and severity were higher than before the pandemic. Loneliness and isolation were cited most commonly as a contributing factor (60 percent).
“Our May screening numbers were unprecedented,” Paul Gionfriddo, president and chief executive officer of MHA, said in a statement. “The numbers demonstrate not only that there is not yet any relief from the mental health impacts of the pandemic, but that the impacts actually seem to be spreading and accelerating.”
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