Since COVID-19, 21% of American adults are living with a mental disorder – as it varies by age

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Judy Campbell

March 11, 2022 marked the second anniversary of the World Health Organization’s official statement on the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a WHO survey of 130 countries, the devastating impact of COVID-19 included the disruption of mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration also shows that more than one in five American adults suffered from a mental illness in 2020.

Sidecar Health examined how the prevalence of mental health disorders breaks down by age, citing SAMHSA data that aggregated survey data from Q1 and Q4 on mental health in 2020 and survey data that specifically focused on the mental health impact of the pandemic .

Mental illness encompasses various conditions of varying severity and can be divided into two broad categories: all mental illness (AMI), which includes all recognized mental illnesses; and severe mental illness, a more severe subgroup of AMI that affects or limits activities of daily living.

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness have created significant barriers to care. According to data from Mental Health America, in 2020, fewer than half of people with mental health disorders received treatment, often out of fear of judgment from family, friends, or co-workers. Read on to see how the severity of mental illness affected three age groups in American adults.

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Adults aged 18-25

– People with mental disorders: 30.6%

— 29.3% of adults between 18 and 20 years old

— 31.3% of adults between 21 and 25

– Individuals reporting significant adverse mental health impacts due to the pandemic:

— Among all respondents: 23.2%

— People with mental disorders: 48.5%

— People with severe mental disorders: 52.7%

The American Psychological Association’s 2020 Stress in America survey found that the US faces a national mental health crisis that requires strategic problem solving.

Gen Z adults (ages 18-23) faced additional challenges in 2020 as they entered the workforce while the economy was in freefall due to a lack of face-to-face connections with colleagues, classmates and loved ones. This age group is already at high risk of mental illness due to ongoing insecurities and high levels of stress.

Online surveys conducted in April 2020 of 195 Texas college students found that the top stressor during the pandemic was concerns about their health and the health of their loved ones. Beyond mental health issues, Gen Z adults also reported adverse health effects from the pandemic, including poor sleep habits, poor diet, and weight fluctuations.

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Adults aged 26-49

– People with mental disorders: 25.3%

— 27.4% of adults 26-29

— 29.0% of adults between 30 and 34 years

— 25.2% of adults 35-39

— 22.3% of adults 40-44

— 22.2% of adults 45-49

– Individuals reporting significant adverse mental health impacts due to the pandemic:

— Among all respondents: 21.4%

— People with mental disorders: 45.5%

— People with severe mental disorders: 54.6%

According to a 2019 report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), before the pandemic, there was a 47% increase in major depression diagnoses among millennials. As of October 2020, the BCBSA reported increases in certain behaviors, including alcohol use (34% increase), smoking (20% increase), vaping (17% increase), and non-medical drug use (16% increase).

Anxiety in 2022 is affecting the daily lives of more than half of millennials, according to a February 2022 study by Ramsey Solutions for The State of Mental Health.

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Adults over 50

– People with mental disorders: 14.5%

— 19.2% of adults 50-54

— 17.8% of adults 55-59

— 13.5% of adults between 60 and 64 years of age

— 11.8% of adults aged 65 and over

– Individuals reporting significant adverse mental health impacts due to the pandemic:

— Among all respondents: 14.2%

— People with mental disorders: 43%

— Persons with severe mental health disorders: insufficient data

In the first six months of the pandemic, workers over the age of 55 were 17% more likely to be fired than their younger counterparts. This put a strain on financial security in retirement and the loss of necessary benefits in this phase of life.

This story originally appeared on Sidecar Health and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

This story was written by Stacker and has been re-released under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

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