Almost half (46%) of adults in a household experiencing income or job loss due to the coronavirus outbreak — and one-third of all Americans have — said their mental health has suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll released Wednesday.
“Those of us who’ve been let go from a job can feel as if we’ve lost our identity, due to the absence of the roles and relationships that give our lives meaning, and therefore we feel helpless,” said Shauna Springer, chief psychologist for The Stella Center, who has spent a decade working with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.
Nearly half (48%) of those polled said someone in their family has skipped or delayed getting medical care during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Notably, 11% of adults overall say their or their family member’s condition got worse as a result of postponing or skipping medical care due to coronavirus,” according to the poll results.
And one in four Americans (26%) said they or a loved one in their home have also skipped meals or turned to charity and government food programs since February. Those percentages went up to 30% among black adults and homes that suffered a loss of income.
Just over three in 10 adults (31%) said they’ve had problems affording food or health insurance coverage and are behind in paying bills since February.
Women continue to be more likely than men to say stress has negatively impacted their mental health (46% versus 33%), while urban (46%) and suburban (38%) residents are more likely to suffer than people in rural areas (28%).
The Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducted the poll, is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California, dedicated to capturing public views on Medicare, Medicaid, health costs, prescription drugs and other health issues.
The poll is a compilation of telephone interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 1,189 adults ages 18 and older.
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Despite a lack of medical care, most adults (86%) said their physical health has “stayed about the same” since the outbreak began. Only 8% said their health had gotten worse during the pandemic, and 6% said their physical health has gotten better.
“Most of those who have put off care due to coronavirus expect to get it soon,” Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman said. “If they do, health care utilization may bounce back more quickly than the rest of the economy.”