Chloe Metz, Grade 11, Staff Writer
Before COVID-19, daily life was full of hangouts with friends, sports, and overall normalcy, but when isolation, remote-school, and monotony took over, everything changed.
As the pandemic began to take its toll on the public, for teenagers like Ella Rifkin, who attends Lab High School, it felt like “there was no end to quarantine” and that life “would just get worse and worse.” Rifkin expressed that her anxiety during the beginning of the pandemic was extreme, and she wasn’t alone in her feelings.
Mental illness reached an all-time high as COVID-19 ran its course. With worsening economic conditions and millions struggling to survive, deteriorating mental health was just one of the many consequences of the pandemic. Isolation, job loss, health anxiety, and familial deaths are among the factors contributing to worsening mental health.
As stated by the CDC, anxiety levels in late June were three times as high as those reported in the second quarter of 2019, and depression levels were four times as high. According to Mark Czeisler, a psychology researcher at Monash University, 63 percent of young adults aged 18-24 reported anxiety or depression symptoms that they attributed to the pandemic.
The prodigious amount of the population who have reported mental illness symptoms calls for some type of aid. However, even before the pandemic, the United States simply did not have enough mental health experts, especially psychiatrists and psychologists, to help Americans. Hence, seeing as mental health is not integrated into primary care, the intimidating task of getting help seemed even more daunting.
Now, mental health is even more critical because it can “affect uptake of a vaccine and adherence to NPIs, with some evidence suggesting that poor mental health could increase susceptibility to infection and transmission of the virus,” according to the Lancet.
The pandemic inflamed many of the United States’ underlying issues regarding mental health. With routine being interrupted and a complete 360 in how people carry out their lives, it is safe to say that some mental effect was to be expected. That being said, the mere magnitude of the psychological impact of COVID-19 was astonishing. With years of underinvestment in mental health, the United States was unprepared and unqualified to tackle the pandemic’s psychological turbulence. Recovering from the mental health effects caused byCOVID-19 will not be an easy feat.