Once a highly stigmatized topic in families and society as a whole, the connection between our mind and body began taking center stage pre-pandemic. Once the pandemic hit, even those who wanted to ignore mental illness simply couldn’t anymore. It’s time to talk about mental health so that we can advocate for ourselves and others struggling with short or long-term conditions.
The Pandemic Ripple Effect
Between the isolation of social distancing, the financial stress of reduced hours and job loss, and the worry of contracting COVID—loneliness, anxiety, and depression rapidly rose. This included worsening symptoms for those with chronic conditions, as well as a drastic increase in symptoms for those who rarely or never experienced poor mental health.
The ripple effect was felt across every demographic, but more in high risk and marginalized communities:
Alcohol and substance consumption increased 12% among adults in 2020, with 12% of those with chronic alcohol or substance conditions experiencing worsening symptoms.
Essential workers, many of whom live at or below the poverty line, were 12% more likely to report anxiety and depressive disorders than non-essential workers.
Households with job loss or income loss had a 21% higher risk of mental illness.
Women with children were 9% more likely to report anxiety and depressive disorders than men with children.
Children Were Impacted Too
As much as teachers, parents, and family members prioritized easing their fears and providing emotional and social support, children experienced the ripple effect of the pandemic too.
Pre-pandemic, 1 in 6 children ages 6 to 17 experienced an acute or chronic mental health condition. This was compared to 1 in 20 adults. Since the pandemic began, this number rose to 5.6 out of 10 children. Numbers have also risen significantly for young adults ages 18 to 24.
It’s Time To Talk About Mental Health
One of the challenges to addressing changes in mental health is that we may not know what signs to look for. It’s easy to assume it’s simply a stressful period or a passing phase. By talking about our stressors, we take the first step towards naming t and identifying the tools to minimize their negative impact on our lives. So, it’s important to know what to look for in yourself and others. This includes:
Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
Excessive sadness, worry, or fear
Trouble concentrating on work or school
Loss of interest in hobbies and social activities
Inability to handle daily interactions appropriately
Self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts
You or a loved one isn’t themselves at the moment
How You Can Help
In addition to checking in with yourself and others, explore local resources and remain a non-judgmental and safe place to share. Also, consider supporting the nonprofits performing the life-changing and life-saving work we need. Consider giving of your time, donating supplies, or donating funds. Every little bit adds up, so you don’t have to give much to have a meaningful impact.
Some donations provide something in return, such as this mental health T-shirt fundraiser from Campaign4ACause. Choose from 1 of 12 Mental focused tees that show your support!
The organizations are currently campaigning for mental health are:
Grab Your Shirt! Rock Your Shirt! Spread The Word!
Are you a nonprofit organization? Are you interested in launching a T-shirt fundraising campaign to raise awareness for your cause? Click here to learn more.