The combined health and economic shocks of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic have led to an unprecedented mental health crisis. A recent poll finds that two-thirds of Americans fear that they or their loved ones will be exposed to the virus. More than 12 million Americans are unemployed and since February, over 5 million more have given up looking for work. Almost one-third of adult Americans that they are having trouble paying for usual household expenses. This economic reality may worsen when emergency unemployment benefits expire at the end of the year.
As a result of these pressures, a recent online survey of almost 100,000 households by the U.S. Census Bureau found that more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder — triple the rate reported in 2019. In June, another well-regarded survey found that more than 1 in 10 U.S. adults had considered suicide in the past 30 days, more than double what was reported in 2019. Tragically, confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States continue to grow, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. The nation’s failure to contain the coronavirus and stabilize the economy likely will have a deep and lasting impact on Americans’ mental health.