Rates of those seeking help for mental health spike during pandemic

Approximately 14,000 more people considered self-harm or suicide, and 18,000 more people sought help for anxiety or depression in March and April, according to the Mental Health America (MHA) Screening Program.

From late February through the start of May, at least 7,629 people screened moderate to severe for anxiety, and at least 10,193 people experienced moderate to severe depression as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to MHA.

In January, 4,205 people reported regular thoughts of suicide or self-harm. This increased to 4,537 in February, 5,871 in March, and 7,061 in April.

People cited loneliness and isolation, COVID-19, and financial problems as the reason for their depression or anxiety.

“The virus will likely ebb in time, and we hope that physically things will be back to normal soon,” MHA President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo said. “But it is clear the mental effects are impacting people now – and will linger for those who mourn loved ones and for those whose anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and other serious conditions are left untreated. We will pay a price if we don’t take all of this seriously from the start.”

MHA provides free mental health screenings online. Since the start of the pandemic, the website has seen a 64 percent increase in those screening for depression and 70 percent for anxiety.