A study has shown that nearly a quarter of the population in the United States have been expressing depression symptoms since the start of the pandemic. Amongst those experiencing symptoms primarily, are people who have lost a loved one, experienced financial hardship, or have contracted the virus themselves. Researchers typically expect a small rise in mental illness, when something traumatic happens to the population. However, the rise in numbers this time around are rather alarming.
In this article, Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University explained that the mental toll of the coronavirus seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas. “We were surprised at the high levels of depression.” These high levels of depression are in comparison to other large-scale traumatic events like September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. The grand issue is the pandemic continues to grow in the United States. Many thought we would get to a point, and then see a decline of the virus. Unfortunately, the course of the pandemic is still uncertain, which is causing Americans to constantly stress not knowing what lies ahead.
Depression and other mental illnesses bring a host of other physical health problems, which then increase the ability to not be able to work or maintain social connections. The fear is that the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for another pandemic of depression. This means that we now have to work diligently to fight not one but two pandemics at the same time. Some think that once treatment and a vaccine is developed it will magically go away, but that is ultimately naive. The fight just got bigger, and we all have to join in and help conquer the effects of two pandemics going at once.