In the two years since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, millions of individuals globally have been forced to reconcile with its impact on their mental health. Many of us can recall the stream of unprecedented stressors we encountered: uprooting routines, experiencing financial ramifications, navigating childcare while working remotely, reducing most, if not all, in-person interactions with loved ones, and dealing with anxiety, grief, and loss directly related to the virus.
These experiences layered on top of limited access to mental healthcare, both during the pandemic and currently, not only created a perfect storm of anxiety and depression symptoms, but also impaired many individuals’ abilities to work and engage meaningfully with their communities, furthering a vicious cycle of triggers. As a result, many mental health disorders have seen a rise in prevalence.
Specifically, the WHO reports that the pandemic has triggered a colossal 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide, and the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorders increased from 1 in 10 to 4 in 10 from 2019 to 2021.
The WHO and Kaiser Family Foundation both report that certain groups experienced this mental health hit harder than others
- Healthcare workers in particular reported that the exhaustion they endured working during the pandemic fueled suicidal ideation
- Kids, teenagers, and young adults experienced disproportionate risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors
- Women experienced more severe mental health complications than men
- People with pre-existing health conditions were more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders
Issues of Access
Worsening this mental health crisis, the WHO says, is the fact that this “increase in the prevalence of mental health problems has coincided with severe disruptions to mental health services, leaving huge gaps in care for those who need it most”. Though the situation has improved some, too many people still lack access to the care that they need.
While unable to seek in-person support, many people sought virtual care, highlighting an important need for remote mental healthcare services. Virtual care can help to connect people to care they otherwise may not be able to receive, especially while dealing with the pandemic’s unpredictability.
If you or your loved one is struggling with their mental health or an addiction, whether longstanding or in the wake of the pandemic, and virtual recovery coaching would best fit your needs, Connections in Recovery offers a remote option in addition to our in-person services here.