In the background of the coronavirus pandemic, a new, tragic health crisis appears to be exploding in America.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 4 young adults nationwide have considered suicide since the pandemic started, the Washington Examiner reports.
“Adverse mental or behavioral health condition”
A number of economic and societal factors — social isolation, school closures, destroyed livelihoods, and much more — are likely contributors to the grim statistic.
But the bad news goes further, according to the CDC statistics. In the wake of loneliness and uncertainty, roughly 13% of adults surveyed have started or increased substance abuse to cope with stress, and about 11% reported suicidal thoughts within the preceding 30 days, the Examiner noted.
Furthermore, 41% of participants reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,” including nearly 31% who cited anxiety or depression.
More than 26% said they suffered from a trauma-and-stressor-related disorder.
“Decreased progressively with age”
It is young adults, the study found, who are suffering in this regard more than older adults. In fact, more than 25% of those between 18 and 24 years old reported having thoughts about killing themselves over the previous month, as the New York Post reported.
“Symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder, COVID-19–related TSRD, initiation of or increase in substance use to cope with COVID-19–associated stress, and serious suicidal ideation in the previous 30 days were most commonly reported by persons aged 18–24 years; prevalence decreased progressively with age,” the CDC concluded.
The CDC’s study, which was conducted in late June and included over 5,400 adults, also found higher rates of mental illness and suicidal thoughts among racial minorities, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers.
Researchers found that additional research would be needed to determine “whether factors such as social isolation, absence of school structure, unemployment and other financial worries, and various forms of violence (e.g., physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse) serve as additional stressors.”
Experts have long warned that lockdowns could have a detrimental impact on mental health, especially for young people and those with existing mental illnesses.
While the coronavirus death toll continues to increase across the U.S., it could still be some time before America reckons with the full extent of this pandemic’s peripheral consequences.