Mental Health Issues
When the authorities issued the shelter-in-place orders, it led to the isolation of people living alone. This isolation increased the number of people experiencing mental health issues across the country. A US Census Bureau survey showed around one-third of 42,000 households showed signs of depression and anxiety. On the other hand, around 24 percent of Americans demonstrated symptoms of depressive disorder, and around 30 percent showed symptoms of general anxiety disorder.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report in June 2020 showed that around 40 percent of American adults experienced adverse health issues. The information showed that the mental health of young adults bore the brunt of the pandemic. Additionally, around 75 percent of 18-to-24-year-old respondents had at least one symptom of behavioral or mental health issues.
These figures were significantly higher compared to the period before the pandemic. It also raised concerns among mental health professionals on the effects of the health measures on the mental health of many Americans.
Another health issue that emerged during the pandemic is chronic fatigue. The social isolation and lack of social support resulted in people experiencing the condition, which is characterized by extreme fatigue that did not appear to be caused by any other medical condition.
A study conducted on Reddit posts showed that the lockdown worsened their situation. Some posters commented that the symptoms were worse during the lockdown compared to the period before the health crisis started.
Aside from experiencing the symptoms of the condition, they also have a bigger risk of contracting COVID-19. In these instances, a person must get chronic fatigue help to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The pandemic also saw an increase in fatal drug overdose cases. The CDC reported more than 81,000 deaths due to drug overdose in a 12-month period that ended in May 2020. While there was already an increase in the figures before the pandemic, the increase accelerated when the pandemic started.
People experiencing substance abuse disorder suffered a lot due to the disruption in their daily life. The primary driver of these deaths were synthetic opioids, whose use increased by around 38 percent during a 12-month period that ended in May 2020 compared to the previous period.
Similarly, an increase in deaths due to cocaine overdose was also noted in the same period. While the increase wasn’t as high as synthetic opioids, it was still considerable at around 26.5 percent for 12 months compared to the previous year. The increase in overdose deaths due to psychostimulants, like methamphetamine, also increased by around 35 percent over the same 12-month period.
To deal with this issue, it is essential to increase efforts on educating people about drug overdose. The CDC also said the authorities should provide early intervention for people who have a high overdose risk. Additionally, it is also important to expand the availability and access to substance abuse treatment in high-risk areas.
When the pandemic started, many businesses closed due to the lockdowns implemented across the country. These closures resulted in an increase in unemployment, which increased from less than four percent in 2019 to around nine percent in 2020. This change in employment status affected the food security of many Americans. The pandemic caused food insecurity among 45 million Americans in 2020. In this figure, around 37 million people who experienced food insecurity lived in urban areas.
The figures presented by Feeding America were considerably higher compared to the previous year. The food insecurity fire for the previous year in the country was at around 35 million. In the same year, around 30 million people who had food security issues lived in urban areas.
In terms of the child population facing food insecurity, the number increased from 10.7 million in 2019 to around 15 million in 2020. The percentage of black individuals who experienced food insecurity was higher compared to their white counterparts at around 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
The disruption caused by the pandemic resulted in the emergence and heightening of some health issues that affected many people across the country. It brought to light what needed to be addressed and the need to immediately find solutions.