44% of Californians Report Clinical Depression, Anxiety

As COVID-19 continues to spread, so do mental health problems

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Medical experts have long warned that isolation caused by current coronavirus restrictions could prompt a mental health crisis. Recent results from a study by the U.S. Census Bureau show an increasing concern. 

“My requests for therapy have quadrupled in the last few weeks,” said Rev. Dr. Monika-Maria Grace, a clinical psychologist. 

Grace says she’s been getting a lot more requests for patients feeling anxiety and depression.

“Many people have lost their employment,” says Grace. “I also think it’s a consequence of the pandemic that has forced people to stay together and coexist.”

And that could be the case for a lot of Californians. The surveys paint a grim picture of the toll the pandemic is having on the golden state.

Their data shows more than 44% of Californians have reported high levels of anxiety and depression. Data for the U.S. showed that 41% of respondents reported those symptoms, compared to just 11% of Americans who reported them last year.

Grace worries that this could lead to bigger problems.

“There is definitely an increase in using substances to manage stress like alcohol, food, prescription medication,” Grace said.

Most striking? The study highlights young people ages 18 to 29. According to the surveys,  three in four Californian respondents reported not being able to stop or control their worrying.

“That decade is the decade where adolescents become adults,” Grace said. “And that’s when they realize the world is open to them and they can experience everything an try everything and all of a sudden they are met with this world that is shut down."

But even with the concern in the rising numbers, Grace says there is some silver lining. 

“People are realizing that there are resources out there for them to develop resilience and recover their mental help,” Grace said.

The surveys were part of a  partnership between the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau to provide relevant data on the coronavirus's impact. About 900,000 Americans participated.

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