The Pandemic Is Taking a Heavy Toll on Our Mental Health, Study Finds

A new study out Wednesday is the latest to show that the covid-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on Americans’ mental The research found that more than a quarter of adults surveyed have clearly experienced depression symptoms recently—over three times as many who said the same in a survey taken before the pandemic.

Curated via Twitter from Gizmodo’s twitter account….

The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open. “To our knowledge, this is the first nationally representative study that assessed depression symptoms using the Patient Health Questionnaire–9 in U. S. adults before and during the covid-19-pandemic,” the authors wrote. “We found a shift in depression symptoms, with fewer people with no symptoms and more people with more symptoms during covid-19 than before covid-19.

Those with scores high enough to be considered moderate (10 or higher on a scale of 1 to over 20) were considered to have clear depression symptoms. Overall, 27. 8% of participants met that criteria during the pandemic period in March and April, compared to 8. 7% who reported the same in the earlier survey.

More women reported depression symptoms than men in either time period, for instance, but the gap grew larger during the pandemic (33. 3% of women had symptoms of depression during the pandemic, compared to 21. 9% of men).

The research found that more than a quarter of adults surveyed have clearly experienced depression symptoms recently—over three times as many who said the same in a survey taken before the pandemic.

Indeed, according to the researchers, there’s evidence the pandemic may be having a greater impact on mental health than other large scale traumatic events in recent history that have affected countries, such as the protests in Hong Kong against the government that led to thousands of arrests and injuries of protesters.

These volunteers, intended to be a nationally representative sample, answered a questionnaire routinely used to screen for depression symptoms (an example question would be asking how many days in the past two weeks you’ve had little interest or pleasure in doing things).

Slightly over half of Americans (52. 5%) reported some symptoms of depression during the pandemic, compared to 24. 7% before.

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