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Adverse Mental, Behavioral Health Issues Common During COVID-19

Consideration of suicide increased for those ages 18 to 24, minority racial/ethnic groups, essential workers

THURSDAY, Aug. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- More than 40 percent of adults across the United States have reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research published in the Aug. 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Mark É. Czeisler, from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted representative panel surveys among adults aged ≥18 years across the United States during June 24 to 30, 2020, to assess mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the pandemic.

The researchers found that 40.9 percent of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition; these included anxiety disorder or depressive disorder symptoms (30.9 percent), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder related to the pandemic (26.3 percent), and having started or increased substance use to cope with COVID-19-related stress or emotions (13.3 percent). The proportion of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the previous 30 days was increased for those aged 18 to 24 years (25.5 percent), minority racial/ethnic groups (Hispanic respondents: 18.6 percent; non-Hispanic black respondents: 15.1 percent), self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults (30.7 percent), and essential workers (21.7 percent) compared with all respondents (10.7 percent).

"Addressing mental health disparities and preparing support systems to mitigate mental health consequences as the pandemic evolves will continue to be needed urgently," the authors write.

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