A recent study finds that Americans’ fear and fears about COVID-19 are still high a year after the outbreak and that the health crisis’ mental health repercussions are on the rise.
According to an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Hispanics (73%) and Black Americans (76%) are more concerned about COVID-19 than whites (59%). It took place from March 26 to April 5.
Concerns about their children were widespread among parents.
“This poll shows that even as vaccines become more widely available, Americans are still concerned about their children’s mental health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Geller, president of the American Psychological Association.
“This is a call to action for policymakers, who must remember that there is no health without mental health in our COVID-19 rehabilitation,” Geller said in a news statement from the group.
The study indicated that people were more concerned about family and loved ones contracting the coronavirus (64 percent) than they were about contracting the virus themselves (49 percent). Furthermore, fear of infecting family and loved ones has risen from 56 percent last year to 64 percent this year.
While four out of ten respondents said they were more worried this year than previous, that’s down from just over 60% in 2020. Young folks (aged 18 to 29) and Hispanics are both more likely to say they’re more anxious now, with 49 percent and 50 percent, respectively. According to the data, people aged 65 and up are less likely to report they are more anxious than they were last year.
More than 40% indicated the pandemic had a significant influence on their mental health, compared to 37% in 2020. The rates were higher among younger and middle-aged adults than among older persons, according to age groupings.
The percentage of those who stated they drink more alcohol or use other substances/drugs than usual increased from 14% last year to 17% this year. Many Americans acknowledged to eating more during the pandemic, with one-third of individuals (40 percent of women) claiming they gained weight.
More than half of parents of children under the age of 18 expressed concern about their children’s mental health. Almost half of those polled stated the epidemic has caused mental health issues in one or more of their children, with 19% citing serious issues.
According to the poll, more than a quarter of parents sought mental health treatment for their children as a result of the pandemic. Psychiatrists, psychologists, school counselors, and social workers were sought by some, while primary caregivers were sought by others.
However, more than one-fifth of parents claimed they had trouble getting their child an appointment with a mental health specialist.
Dr. Saul Levin, the APA’s CEO and medical director stated, “While most individuals, including most children, will adapt and recover well as we emerge from the epidemic, we know from past research that the mental health effects of the trauma and anguish may have long-term consequences for others. In the following months and years, we must be ready to assist individuals who require assistance.”
The study also discovered a tiny decline in the number of people who claim the epidemic is harming their day-to-day lives, compared to a year earlier, in terms of sleeping problems, concentration issues, and more fighting with loved ones.
Furthermore, over three-quarters of respondents stated they have been or plan to get vaccinated, while 22% indicated they don’t plan to be vaccinated and 2% didn’t know.
The top fear among individuals who do not want to be vaccinated is the vaccine’s negative effects, followed by the belief that it is ineffective or that the vaccine’s creators aren’t being honest about what’s in it. According to the poll, a minor number of people said they were afraid of needles.
More information on COVID-19 and mental health may be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.