Health

Experts Warn of Mental Health Pandemic

Holidays May Exacerbate Mental Disorders

More than half of the Americans surveyed, 54 percent, reported their mental health had been negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey from RxSave conducted in partnership with Kelton Research.

The survey reveals that more than one in four Americans are currently taking a prescription medication to help manage their mental health condition; men are more likely to take a prescription for their mental health than women; and 18-24-year-olds are proving to be one of the most affected groups with six in 10 reporting that they are dealing with an anxiety or depressive disorder.

RxSaver says additional data suggests an increase in prescription antidepressants, a sign that Americans are reaching out for mental health support.

Medical expert Dr. Holly Phillips for RxSaver says the acceleration this year for medications like escitalopram [generic for Lexapro], citalopram [generic for Celexa] and fluoxetine [generic for Prozac] is a good sign for those struggling with mental health.

“Although we still have a ways to go, this year we have made great strides toward destigmatizing mental health conditions and encouraging millions affected to seek treatment,” Phillips said. “In some ways, 2020 has provided us with insight into the importance of talking about our mental health and the collective reassurance that we aren’t alone in what we are feeling and facing during this time.”

Phillips continued that the holidays can be particularly daunting. Even in a non-pandemic year, many Americans admitted they took some type of anxiety medication to help get through the holidays.

One in 10 Americans said they take anxiety medication to help cope during this time of year, according to the survey.

Adults are not the only one’s suffering from an increase in mental health issues. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows minors are also seeing an increase in conditions like anxiety and depression due to the stress of the pandemic.

Beginning in April, the proportion of children’s mental health-related emergency room visits increased and remained elevated through October.

Compared to 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children ages 5-11 and 12-17 increased approximately 24 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

“These findings provide initial insight into children’s mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight the importance of continued monitoring of children’s mental health throughout the pandemic, ensuring access to care during public health crises, and improving healthy coping strategies and resiliency among children and families,” the researchers wrote.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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