What the Lockdown Taught Us About Mental Health: 1 Year Later

It’s safe to say that the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown that followed took a toll on all of us. Isolation, childcare, job loss, financial security, grief from losing a loved one, adapting to a new world, and many other challenges undoubtedly affected the mental health of millions of people around the world. Yet here we are, a year later. What has it taught us?

The number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled, according to a major study. Researchers estimate that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults now report experiencing symptoms of depression. Based on Mental Health America’s screening data, loneliness/isolation is the number one thing contributing to feelings of depression or anxiety right now – over 72% of respondents said it was one of their top 3 stressors.

Before the pandemic, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has risen to 27.8% as the country struggles with COVID-19 (Medical News Today).

The figure describes the percentages of U.S. adults struggling with mental health or substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take Time to Plan Your Wellness

Per Mental Health America (MHA)

Just as individuals with pre-existing physical illness are more likely to get physically ill from the coronavirus, people whose mental health is compromised are at greater risk of experiencing worsening mental illness as a result of the coronavirus – no matter what their mental illness may be.

Clinical anxiety is a concern at times like this. It is understandable and expected that people will experience worry and stress during this time. However, for individuals living with mental health conditions, it is important to know when these natural emotions are becoming anxiety.

Anxiety is a treatable clinical condition that should not be left untreated. Testing for anxiety is simple and takes just a few minutes. It can be done at home using our free, anonymous, and confidential online tools at www.mhascreening.org.

It is important to know that severe anxiety can bring on a panic attack. Panic attacks can mimic heart attacks. Individuals who have never experienced panic attacks may be inclined to go to the ER due to their symptoms, but at this time ERs are inundated. It may be helpful to try to determine what brought on these symptoms and attempt grounding exercises to alleviate the panic. If you feel your life is in danger, please get help immediately.

Mental health conditions are by nature isolating. Create your wellness plan to help you during this time.

  • Make sure you have enough medication on hand. Typically prescriptions can be filled a week or so before they run out. Refill them on the first possible day, because that can buy an extra few days of lowered stress about a prescription running out and not being able to get to the drug store to fill it. Contact your pharmacy to see if they provide delivery services or if they can provide you a longer supply (30 days versus 90 days)
  • Keep the routines that make you feel good, and try to modify the ones that you can. For example, if you typically go to the gym or fitness class, you can exercise at home.
  • Create a routine.
  • Reach out to friends and schedule virtual hangouts.
  • Find an accountability and support buddy.
  • If you have a therapist, see if they offer telephone or video-based sessions.
  • Utilize resources like Crisis Text Line (Text MHA to 741741) or online support groups (Like our Inspire community).
  • Contact a warmline. Warmlines are run by peers and may be a great support tool.

Resources For Immediate Response

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Disaster Distress Helpline
The national Disaster Distress Helpline is available for anyone experiencing emotional #distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to be connected to a trained, caring counselor, 24/7/365. disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

Crisis Text Line
Text MHA to 741741 and you’ll be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line provides free, text-based support 24/7.

The Trevor Project
or text START to 678678. A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.

Trans Lifeline
Dial 877-565-8860 for US and 877-330-6366 for Canada. Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers.

Dial 2-1-1
If you need assistance finding food, paying for housing bills, accessing free childcare, or other essential services, visit 211.org or dial 211 to speak to someone who can help. Run by the United Way.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
For any victims and survivors who need support, call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

StrongHearts Native Helpline
Call 1-844-762-8483. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.

The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

Caregiver Help Desk
Contact Caregiver Action Network’s Care Support Team by dialing 855-227-3640. Staffed by caregiving experts, the Help Desk helps you find the right information you need to help you navigate your complex caregiving challenges. Caregiving experts are available 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET.

The Partnership for Drug-free Kids Helpline
Call 1-855-378-4373 if you are having difficulty accessing support for your family, or a loved one struggling with addiction faces care or treatment challenges resulting from COVID-19 circumstances, the Partnership for Drug-free Kids’ specialists can guide you. Support is available in English and Spanish, from 9:00am-midnight ET weekdays and noon-5:00pm ET on weekends.

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