Young adults are experiencing high rates of mental health issues as a result of the pandemic.
According to the new federal data, there has been an increase in the number of American adults needing mental health treatment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it appears that the younger adults are struggling the most in the aftermath. A study published by the National Center for Health Statistics found “23 percent (one in every four Americans) between the ages of 18 to 44 had received mental health treatment in the past year.” Not including young adults, mental health treatment, in general, rose “2 percent from 19.2 percent in 2019 to 21.6 percent in 2021.”
In the report, effective treatment was defined as receiving therapy, taking medication, or both. Often the two go hand-in-hand but that’s not always the case. Care is based on the individual needs of each patient.
Women’s mental health treatment increased “28.6 percent in 2021 from 23.8 in 2019,” while treatment for men increased from “13.1 percent in 2019 to 17.8 percent in 2021.” The report shows that the number of non-Hispanic white adults aged 18 to 44 who seek care went up to “30 percent from 23.8 percent in 2019.” Similarly, the percentage of non-Hispanic Asian adults within the same age group rose from “6 percent to 10.8 percent.”
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not cite specific reasons for the increases, there has been an overwhelming amount of stress related to the pandemic. The coronavirus has not only killed over a million Americans, but it has also left others in fear for their own health, job loss, school closings, and forced isolation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in March of this year that anxiety and depression rose nearly 25 percent.
WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”
A few weeks ago in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that COVID-19 has brought an increased risk of neurological conditions such as psychotic disorders, seizures, brain fog, and dementia. If individuals are exposed to the virus and test positive, they could experience long-term conditions. The full picture of symptoms that follow cases of the coronavirus is not yet known, and new issues seem to be cropping up all the time.
A separate study published in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, also found out that about “two-thirds of surveyed participants experienced a contorted perception of time six months after the pandemic began.” In other words, they lost their sense of time, feeling as if it were either speeding up or slowing down.
Calliope Holingue, a psychiatric epidemiologist, said that young adults are experiencing a significant increase in mental health treatment because they entered the pandemic at a vulnerable life stage and had to halt social and academic commitments as well as other daily activities.
“It’s the stage at which disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression are at one of their highest levels across the life course. So, there is this sort of natural vulnerability there, at the same time that the pandemic is happening.” she said.