New York, June 4 (IANS) There has been a massive increase in psychological distress among adults in the US during the Covid-19 pandemic. Young adults aged 18-29 years, adults across ages in low-income households and Hispanics across ages have expressed the highest psychological distress, according to a new survey by Johns Hopkins University.
The survey by researchers at the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University found more than threefold increase in the percentage of US adults who reported symptoms of psychological distress – from 3.9 per cent in 2018 to 13.6 per cent in April 2020.
The percentage of US adults aged 18-29 years who reported psychological distress increased from 3.7 per cent in 2018 to 24 per cent in 2020.
“We need to prepare for higher rates of mental illness among US adults post-Covid,” said Beth McGinty, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management.
The survey, conducted online between April 7 and April 13, found that 19.3 per cent of adults with annual household incomes less than $35,000 reported psychological distress in 2020 agaisnt 7.9 per cent in 2018, an increase of 11.4 percentage points.
The researchers also found that psychological distress in adults aged 55 years and older almost doubled from 3.8 per cent in 2018 to 7.3 per cent in 2020.
The survey, however, found only a slight increase in the feeling of loneliness, from 11 per cent in 2018 to 13.8 per cent in 2020, suggesting loneliness was not driving increased psychological distress.
“It is especially important to identify mental illness treatment needs and connect people to services, with a focus on groups with high psychological distress, including young adults, adults in low-income households, and Hispanics,” said McGinty.
The study suggested the distress experienced during Covid-19 might transfer to longer-term psychiatric disorders, requiring clinical care.
“Health care providers, educators, social workers and other front-line providers can help promote mental wellness and support,” the researchers reported in a research letter published in JAMA.