World Mental Health Day: If you're depressed or anxious, you're not alone
As the global community marks World Mental Health Day on October 10, the pandemic has continued far beyond what people initially thought possible, for over two years.
In addition to the fear, grief and anxiety around the virus itself, for many people the pandemic brought on financial instability, job loss, isolation, additional caregiving responsibilities, uncertainty around school and work and related political disagreements.
In the United States, rates of anxiety and depression remain higher than they were pre-pandemic, according to data released in October 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I've heard the pandemic described as a disaster of uncertainty because it seems like the finish line keeps moving," said Dr. Erica Martin Richards, chair and medical director of the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. "And that makes it harder to come up with a plan [to cope]."
The pandemic has also proven to disproportionately impact women's mental health.
One study, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April, found that 55% of women across all age groups said their mental health had declined during the pandemic, compared to 38% of men.
Another, published last month in Lancet Regional Health-Americas, also found women were more likely than men to report higher psychological distress during the pandemic, especially anxiety.