For Shelby Rowe, a bead artist and mother of three adult children, the most difficult day of the coronavirus pandemic came in August.
It was the day her son, Trevor, was rushed to the hospital.
He was already battling Covid-19, and on that day, he was having difficulty breathing.
“That fear that I could lose my child and not be able to visit him, that definitely affected my mental health,” Rowe said. “The pandemic has brought a lot more uncertainty and fear and given me more anxiety than I think I’ve ever experienced.”
Rowe, who also works in suicide prevention in Oklahoma City, is not alone.
Almost 41% of US adults in a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported struggling with their mental health or substance use – both related to the coronavirus pandemic and some of the measures put in place to contain it, such as physical distancing. Those survey results were published in August.
“At any given time in the United States, about one-fifth of Americans have a diagnosable mental illness,” said Dr. Joshua Gordon, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
“It does appear that the rates of reporting of symptoms have increased from that baseline – so that we’re seeing as much as 30% or 40% of Americans reporting symptoms,” he said, adding that it represents about a two-fold increase over what would have been expected of pre-pandemic symptoms of mental health conditions.