For those already struggling with mental illness and drug abuse issues, both the COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent economic downturn have significantly impacted their mental health and generated additional obstacles. There has been an increase in anxiety and depression disorder in the U.S. from January to June 2019, with roughly 4 in 10 individuals reporting anxiety or depressive disorder symptoms during the pandemic.
Some 36 percent of respondents to a KFF Health Tracking Poll in July 2020 reported trouble sleeping or eating, 32 percent reported an increase in alcohol use or drug usage, and 12% reported deteriorating chronic diseases due to the coronavirus. In addition, isolation and job loss have been associated with poor mental health outcomes as the epidemic continues. The nation’s mental health care system may need a significant overhaul at this point. An avalanche of federal cash has opened the door to necessary reform as more Americans than ever before struggle with anxiety, despair, and other mental health concerns, illnesses that the epidemic has exacerbated. But there is hope. Many are seeking help through new venues.
Even traditional means of help like therapy and mental health counseling have been boosted by social media and smartphone apps like Talkspace, which offers relationship-centered therapy that is easily accessed through your phone or laptop. Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps has been a powerful advocate for therapy and is an ambassador for mental health counseling, which he credits for changing his life. Phelps believes in the work that Talkspace is doing to help people heal from mental health issues.
Philanthropists such as Dr. Ariadna Balaguer, the daughter of the late President Joaquin Balaguer, are speaking up and helping to create a groundswell of support for people struggling with anxiety and mental health issues during this challenging time of global crisis. Dr. Balaguer, who holds doctoral degrees in other fields of study, uses her voice and resources to shed light on the troubling nature of mental health and the many who silently suffer because they do not know where to turn for support or help.4
Symptoms or signs may include:
- Confusion in thought or a loss of concentration
- Excessive anxieties or fears, as well as severe guilt emotions
- Extreme mood swings with extreme highs and lows
- Significant exhaustion, poor energy, or sleeping difficulties
- Inability to deal with day-to-day issues or stressful circumstances
While the signs and symptoms of mental illness may vary, the emotions, beliefs, and behaviors can all be affected by mental illness.