PTSD after COVID-19: ‘No doubt’ it’ll happen,’ says NIMH director
The after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic — which still has no foreseeable end — will likely last long after the worst of the disease has receeded.
“I have no doubt that there are some people who have a diagnosable mental illness — depression, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder — as a result of COVID,” Dr. Joshua A. Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told the Daily Beast. “That happens after any emergency.”
At the onset and throughout the pandemic, health experts have warned Americans to remain vigilant of their mental health as communities grew distanced, work became home-bound and outings became dangerous.
Worries over possible job loss and income can also be big triggers for mental health crises. Models created by Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a nonprofit in Texas, suggest that if unemployment ultimately rises 5 percentage points (relatively close to the Great Recession numbers) an additional 4,000 people may die of suicide and 4,800 more from drug overdoses, according to WaPo.
If unemployment rises above that, to levels seen during the Great Depression, however, Meadows says deaths by suicide could increase by 18,000 and overdose deaths by over 22,000.
“These projections are not intended to question the necessity of virus mitigation efforts,” authors of the Meadows report say, “but rather to inform health system planning.”
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