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  • Writer's pictureJaime Castillo, LCSW

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Updated: May 9, 2023

If you are one of the many people struggling with mental health issues during this dark and difficult time I want to assure you - you are far from alone.

While we are only beginning to understand the many complexities of how COVID has impacted mental health in the United States - the conclusion is clear - we have not seen anything affect our communities mental health on a mass scale like this for a very long time. Most of us haven't experienced anything like this in our lifetime.

If there is one thing we know - is that we can learn a lot from the data released from the CDC study related to Covid-19 and its impact on mental health.

These statistics were released August 2019 from the CDC:

  • 40.9% of participants reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition (including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%).

  • 26.3% of participants reported symptoms of a Traumatic Stress Related Disorder (TSRD) related to Covid-19

  • 13.3% of participants reported starting or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.

The percentage of participantsts who reported seriously considering suicide during the 30 days prior to completing the survey:

  • 10.7% overall reported having seriously considering suicide during the 30 days prior to completing the survey

  • 25.5% aged 18–24 years

  • 18.6% minority racial/ethnic groups (Hispanic participants)

  • 15.1% non-Hispanic (black) participants

  • 30.7% self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults

  • 21.7% essential workers

To put these numbers into perspective...

  • The symptoms of anxiety disorder reported in the second quarter of 2019 were 8.1% vs the second quarter of 2020 which had increased to 25.5%.

  • .The symptoms of depressive disorder reported in the second quarter of 2019 were 6.5% vs the second quarter of 2020 where it increased to approximately four times that to 24.3%.

  • The symptoms of suicidal ideation reported in 2018 were 4.3% vs the second quarter of 2020 where the number had increased to 10.7%.

It is clear there are many variables to understanding how the pandemic is affecting mental health in our communities. There are some trends that do appear to be possible, however. It appears that mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, members of the Hispanic and Black communities, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for pre-existing psychiatric conditions.

While the numbers look grim the purpose of sharing this information with you is so 1) you are informed and 2) most importantly - you know that you're not alone. If you have been struggling with your mental health during this pandemic you are among the majority of Americans just trying to get through this. The good thing... No - the great thing, is that you don't have to do it alone. There are many resources available to help you during this difficult time. Reach out if you are struggling and find the support you need.

Please see below some resources that are available. If you are in crisis please call one of the crisis lines. If you are looking for referrals for therapists and are in Arizona, feel free to reach out to us directly at 480-815-3211 or email us at and we would be happy to assist you. For those out of state, check out to find a therapist in your area.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8245 or text HOME to 741741

Substance Abuse/Mental Health Helpline: 1-800-622-HELP

RAINN Sexual Assault HOtline: 1-800-656-HOPE

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

LGBTQ+ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

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