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Reports of anxiety and depression more than 6 times higher during pandemic

In the latest evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has harmed people’s mental health, Boston College researchers say reports of anxiety and depression among Americans increased in 2020 to levels more than six times higher than the year before.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly all aspects of life, leading to rising mortality rates, increasing economic inequities, and gross disturbances in people’s daily lives and social interactions. Perhaps not surprisingly, these myriad stressors have led to rising rates of mental health disorder symptoms,” the researchers reported earlier this month in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine.

“Our results show that reports of anxiety and depression rose significantly from April to November 2020 to rates six times higher than in 2019,” the study said, according to an article in the Boston Globe.

By November, the prevalence for probable anxiety and depression was 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively, researchers said.

The study also found that “rising mental health challenges” were affecting young people, people of color, and women disproportionately, and there was “evidence of growing unmet need for mental health services.”