QC COVID-19 Coalition addresses pandemic’s toll on mental health

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 12:35 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the mental health of Americans. The number of Americans experiencing anxiety and depression has tripled, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University.

During Thursday’s QC COVID-19 Coalition update, Anne McNelis, LCSW and Clinical Director for Transitions Mental Health Services in Moline stressed the importance of taking care of mental health, especially during the pandemic.

“The ongoing uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic really brings some significant changes life changes and unprecedented stressors,” she said.

According to the report, psychological distress in Americans increased from 3.4 percent in April 2018 to 24 percent in April of this year.

“The biggest prevalence of mental health problems is among young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 years old,” McNelis said.

The 18 to 29 age range reported an increase in psychological distress of 20.3 percent. According to the report, long periods of quarantine, social distancing, fear of becoming ill, economic uncertainty, including higher unemployment are causes.

“A third of Americans have displayed clinical signs of anxiety, depression, or both since the pandemic began. For those experiencing or were experiencing financial difficulties, that figure rises to as high as 55 percent,” McNelis said citing the American Psychological Association which found economic uncertainty is a major stressor for over 70 percent of Americans, “That figure really rivals what we saw in the 2008 great recession.”

According to McNelis, the best way to ease your stress is to set a goal of “staying regulated.”

This includes sticking to a routing of things like sleep, family meals, exercise, and structure in daily life. It can also be beneficial to reach out to loved ones and limit social media exposure.

If it’s difficult to complete those tasks more days than not, it might be a good idea to seek further help through mental health services, according to McNelis.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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