As we enter month seven of what was supposed to be a short-term quarantine due to COVID-19, uncertainty is at an all time high. Where national surveys previously indicated roughly 24% of the adult population demonstrated symptoms of major depression, current studies indicate that this percentage has more than doubled.
Dr. Roger McIntyre describes an “echo pandemic” in the realm of mental health, which outlines the circumstances contributing to millions of cases of new onset adult depression. These unprecedented statistics can be understood with a three-pronged explanation.
1. The fear of contracting the illness itself, due to the huge variety of symptoms and levels of severity.
2. New onset insecurity and instability, particularly financially due to job changes including being furloughed or losing one’s job.
3. The consequences of long-term quarantine. While following the recommendation of staying at home as much as possible, there are significantly fewer opportunities for human interaction in both social and professional realms, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Resultantly, depression is as prevalent as ever. If you find yourself dealing with symptoms such as:
· low mood
· loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
· low energy
· poor concentration
· feelings of guilt or hopelessness
· changes in sleep
· changes in appetite
· thoughts of self harm
You should feel encouraged to reach out for help! This can be achieved in a variety of ways:
· Confiding in friends and loved ones
· Joining a (virtual) support group
· Participating in regular therapy sessions
· Making an appointment with a psychiatry provider to see if you would benefit from medication(s).
There are multiple mental health services available for both temporary AND long-term health needs, including Telehealth. Even if you have never previously been diagnosed with depression, you can benefit from seeking out these resources.