COVID-19 and Mental Health

July 31, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 28
Is the U.S. prepared for the other pandemic-related crisis?
By Lorna Collier


The COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 4 million Americans and killed some 150,000 has also caused increased anxiety, depression and stress, conditions brought on by grief, uncertainty, economic pain, isolation and fear. As deaths and hospitalizations rise sharply in many states, calls to suicide hotlines are spiking, and researchers say 25 percent to 40 percent of health care workers and first responders likely will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Experts fear the effects of the pandemic and the lockdowns it has triggered are causing higher rates of domestic and child abuse and substance abuse disorders. And the economic fallout from the virus could cause between 27,644 and 154,037 “deaths of despair” — suicides and deaths from drug and alcohol misuse — according to experts. Mental health care providers say they are bracing for a second pandemic-related crisis in the coming months that could overwhelm the nation's chronically underfunded mental health system, which suffers from gaps in insurance and access to care and a shortage of mental health professionals.

An exhausted health care worker takes a break outside the Brooklyn Hospital in New York City. (Getty Images/Andolu Agency/Tayfun Coskun)
A health care worker takes a break outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City in April as coronavirus cases peaked in the city. Anxiety and depression have spiked among Americans during the pandemic, especially among health care workers and first responders. (Getty Images/Andolu Agency/Tayfun Coskun)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mental Health
Jul. 01, 2022  Youth Mental Health
Jul. 31, 2020  COVID-19 and Mental Health
Oct. 11, 2019  The Insanity Defense
Jul. 12, 2019  Suicide Crisis
Mar. 13, 2015  Prisoners and Mental Illness
Dec. 05, 2014  Treating Schizophrenia
Sep. 12, 2014  Teen Suicide
May 10, 2013  Mental Health Policy
Aug. 03, 2012  Treating ADHD
Jun. 01, 2012  Traumatic Brain Injury
Jun. 26, 2009  Treating Depression
Feb. 13, 2004  Youth Suicide
Feb. 06, 2004  Mental Illness Medication Debate
Mar. 29, 2002  Mental Health Insurance
Feb. 08, 2002  Treating Anxiety
Jul. 16, 1999  Childhood Depression
Jun. 18, 1999  Boys' Emotional Needs
Sep. 12, 1997  Mental Health Policy
Aug. 19, 1994  Prozac
Aug. 06, 1993  Mental Illness
Oct. 09, 1992  Depression
Jun. 14, 1991  Teenage Suicide
Jul. 08, 1988  Biology Invades Psychology
Feb. 13, 1987  The Mentally Ill
Aug. 20, 1982  Mental Health Care Reappraisal
Jun. 12, 1981  Youth Suicide
Sep. 21, 1979  Mental Health Care
Sep. 15, 1978  Brain Research
Jul. 05, 1974  Psychomedicine
Aug. 08, 1973  Emotionally Disturbed Children
Dec. 27, 1972  Mental Depression
Mar. 24, 1972  Schizophrenia: Medical Enigma
Apr. 21, 1971  Approaches to Death
Mar. 03, 1971  Encounter Groups
Nov. 25, 1970  Psychological Counseling of Students
Feb. 19, 1969  Future of Psychiatry
Feb. 02, 1966  New Approaches to Mental Illness
Jan. 22, 1964  Insanity as a Defense
Sep. 25, 1963  Anatomy of Suicide
Nov. 20, 1957  Drugs and Mental Health
Apr. 23, 1954  Mental Health Programs
Jul. 09, 1948  Mental Health
Congress Actions
Infectious Diseases
Medicaid and Medicare
Medical Profession and Personnel
Medical Research and Advocacy
Mental Health
Party Politics