The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes to American life, including business and school closures, canceling entertainment and sports venues, as well as lockdowns, are taking a toll on the mental health of young people.
In the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data released Thursday, more than one-quarter of American adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they have thought about suicide in the last 30 days because of the coronavirus pandemic. For adults ages 25 to 44, that percentage is 16%.
The data also shows more than 40% of those surveyed said they had some type of mental or behavioral condition connected to the ongoing coronavirus concerns.
The CDC study was done between June 24 and 30 in which 5,412 survey responses were analyzed.
According to Politico, the toll is falling heaviest on young adults, caregivers, essential workers, and minorities. While 10.7 percent of respondents overall reported considering suicide in the previous 30 days, 25.5 percent of those between 18 to 24 reported doing so during the height of the lockdowns. Almost 31 percent of self-reported unpaid caregivers and 22 percent of essential workers also said they harbored such thoughts. Hispanic and Black respondents similarly were well above the average.
The data also reveal that the number of young people developing symptoms of anxiety has tripled since a year ago.
RedState reports drug usage and overdoses are up across the country as well. They cited a report released early last month by the San Diego-based laboratory Millennium Health. An analysis of 500,000 urine drug tests found that there was an increase in the national usage of four drugs: non-prescribed fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.
Medical Experts Warn of Negative Effects of Lockdowns
Medical experts are warning about the negative effects of keeping people in lockdown. CBN News has reported that a growing number of doctors believe lockdowns and shutdowns are doing more harm than the coronavirus itself. More than 1,200 doctors have banded together in the group A Doctor A Day, and at SecondOpinionProject.com, presenting their case for why the lockdowns have been a medical disaster.
“We’re looking at an increase in tens or hundreds of thousands of just suicides alone from the increased unemployment,” explained Dr. Paul Fronapfel, a pediatric anesthesiologist.
Addiction specialist Dr. Molly Rutherford added, “The morbidity and mortality from joblessness and from mental health crises and relapse and suicides, homicides, shootings – all these things – are just going to continue to get worse.”
The doctors in the Second Opinion Project believe the coronavirus threat has been overhyped.
“The message has been disseminated that this is some terrible infection that’s a killer; that everybody is at risk of dying,” said cardiologist Dr. Daniel Wohlgelernter. But he pointed out, “We know that 99.7 percent of people that get infected with COVID survive.”
Fronapfel added, “Ten times as many people die from other things on any given day.”
The Good News – Counseling Is Available
Dr. Danny Holland, a licensed professional counselor and assistant professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling at Regent University told CBN News all of the changes that have happened over the past months have had a profound effect on our well being.
“One of the things we know is that predictability and control are anchors that people have in order to feel a sense of wellness and routine in their lives,” he said. “Those things have been dramatically impacted for almost everybody. So there’s a loss of control – that ability to look at their life and know what’s going to happen next.”
Back in the spring, the Trump administration expanded telehealth services for Medicare and that includes providers like psychologists.
Holland has been seeing clients virtually for weeks now and says that while it can be difficult initially for people to get used to it, the benefits outweigh the challenges for most.
“People can actually sit in the environments where they’re having the struggles in and they can work through some of the strong feelings right there and have the counselor come right into the environment with them and assist them,” he said.