Blog by www.cvshealth.com

The country may be at a mental health breaking point.

COVID-19 has exacerbated mental health issues in the U.S. at an astonishing rate, with a swell of stress and anxiety that has consistently worsened since spring 2020. Aside from fear of catching and spreading the virus, extreme isolation from friends and family, mass job loss, an unstable economy, and widespread social and political tensions have all contributed to a mental health crisis in this country like no other. That’s why Aetna, a CVS Health company, sought to gain a deeper understanding of the mental and emotional toll the past year has taken on the nation, which is an important step in our long-standing commitment to normalize mental health issues and provide preventative support and increased access to proper mental health care.

These results are detailed in a new white paper “The Impact of COVID-19 on mental well-being in the U.S.” Read the full report detailing the emotional impact of vaccines, attitudes toward telemedicine, and more.

According to the survey, just under half of Americans have had concerns around the physical and mental health of family and friends, while just over a third have had concerns about increased isolation. A staggering 65% of Americans ages 18 to 34 have had concerns about their own mental health or that of household members, family, or friends since the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, more than a third of Americans who responded that they had contracted COVID-19 also indicated they were still living with the physical and emotional side effects of the virus.

The good news is that with vaccinations underway, most adults (58%) indicate they now feel more hopeful. And people are more comfortable receiving care virtually — in fact, from April 2020 through December 2020, more than 60% of outpatient mental health visits were conducted via telemedicine, up from just 1% in 2019.

Even though we feel on track to return to “life as usual,” the country may struggle with varying degrees of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to COVID-19. What’s more, Post-COVID Stress Disorder (PCSD) is becoming an increasingly popular term among mental health professionals when referring to COVID-related anxiety and depression that is expected to linger for possibly years after the pandemic is over.