US cases of depression have tripled through the COVID-19 pandemic

US cases of depression have tripled through the COVID-19 pandemic
A big study finds a dramatic increase in the number of adults in america reporting symptoms of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The quantity of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled, according to a major study. Researchers estimate that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults now report experiencing symptoms of depression.

Prior to the pandemic, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has increased to 27.8% as the united states struggles with COVID-19.

Prof. Sandro Galea, a dean at Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, MA, is senior author of the study.

“Depression in the overall population after prior large-scale traumatic events has been observed to, for the most part, double,” he notes.

While reports of depression have increased in response to earlier crises, such as the 9/11 attack and the spread of Ebola in West Africa, the extent of the recent finding is something new.

The analysis features in the journal JAMA Network Open. The Rockefeller Foundation-Boston University 3-D Commission and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the study.

About the study
The BU study may be the first large-scale investigation into America’s mental health in response to COVID-19.

To gauge the prevalence of depression symptoms among the population, the researchers worked with mental health professionals’ leading tool for this function: the individual Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).

The researchers used the 2017-2018 National Health insurance and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as a baseline measurement of depression rates before the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 5,065 individuals taken care of immediately that survey.

They compared these data with the findings of the COVID-19 and Life Stressors Effect on Mental Health and Well-being (CLIMB) study, which surveyed 1,441 U.S. adults between March 31 and April 13, 2020. This study also used PHQ-9, facilitating the comparison of changes in the prevalence of depression among the populace.

Although the 2020 survey took place relatively early in the pandemic, by enough time it had been complete, stay-at-home advisories and shelter-in-place orders were set up for approximately 96% of the general public.

Reasons behind depression
The CLIMB survey also questioned participants regarding the various stressors linked to the pandemic. These stressors included the death of a pal or cherished one and financial worries, like the loss, or potential loss, of personal income.

The survey discovered that symptoms of depression had risen in response to the pandemic across all demographic groups.

In line with the survey participants, the predominant driver of depression was concern regarding personal financial well-being. Lead study author Catherine Ettman says, “Persons who were already at risk before COVID-19, with fewer social and economical resources, were much more likely to report probable depression.”

Specifically, the team discovered that individuals with significantly less than $5,000 in savings were 50% much more likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression than those who had more.

Ettman says that the analysis underscores the value of a society “in which a robust back-up exists, where persons have fair wages, where equitable policies and practices exist, and where families can not only go on their income but may also save money toward the near future.”

For what the authorities can do now to lessen the emotional toll of the ongoing pandemic in the U.S., Ettman suggests:

“There can be steps that policymakers can take now in reducing the impact of COVID-19 stressors on depression, such as for example eviction moratoria, providing universal medical health insurance that is not linked with employment, and helping persons go back to work safely - for all those able to do so.”

Ettman hopes that her study can, at least, deliver some comfort to persons fighting depression by making them recognize that they are far from alone. 
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