Post-Pandemic Stress Could Be a Silent Epidemic

2020 saw the arrival of COVID-19, drastically altering our way of life. Even after nearly four years of the pandemic, Americans are experiencing a quiet rise in stress and mental health problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the findings of a nationwide survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA) more than 3,000 U.S. adults have long-term stress. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has had a significant impact on well-being, as evidenced by a significant increase in reported mental health conditions and chronic illnesses. Those between the ages of 35 and 44 have shown the most significant increase in mental health diagnoses and chronic medical disorders since the pandemic.

Even though a sizable percentage acknowledged their health issues, 67% of respondents said their issues weren't "bad enough" to warrant concern.

Parents of children under the age of eighteen are also reporting higher levels of mental exhaustion, anxiety, and financial pressure.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a collective experience among Americans. While the early pandemic lockdowns may seem like the distant past, the aftermath remains.

- Arthur C. Evans Jr., APA's chief executive officer

He goes on to say that the country cannot deny how drastically our workplaces, educational institutions, and general culture have altered as a result of the loss of over a million Americans.

Mental health findings

To progress toward post-traumatic growth, society must first recognize and comprehend the residual psychological wounds.

Psychologists from the American Psychological Association observed that even among those who reported having a chronic illness diagnosis, many had generally good views of their physical health.

While 66% of respondents reported having been informed they have a chronic condition by a healthcare provider, more than four out of five indicated they assessed their physical health as good, very good, or outstanding.

In addition, 81% of individuals stated they were in good, very good, or excellent mental health, and over one-third said they had a mental health diagnosis in 2019. This represents a 5% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Many people also minimized their stress level, with 67% stating that they don't have "bad enough" problems to worry about because they realize worse things are happening.

Adults gave the following as their main excuses for not seeking treatment: lack of insurance, lack of time, and the conviction that therapy is ineffective.

Regarding these explanations, 62% of respondents stated they avoid talking about their stress because they don't want to burden others, and almost half said they wish they had someone to help manage their stress.

Compared to other adult groups, parents reported higher rates of financial difficulties in the home, disagreements over money within the family, and a higher risk of feeling overwhelmed by financial problems in 2023.

Since stress has an adverse effect on every system in the body, Evans concludes that in order to prevent future health crises, Americans must be aware of the serious effects of stress, learn how to manage stressors in their lives and seek support from their employers, support networks, and health care providers.

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