Back in February of 2020, Amiliano Fragoso’s days were anything but predictable. That’s to be expected for a journalism student. He chose this career path because everyday brings something new and different.
He would wake up early, walk to class, enjoy lunch with his friends, and spend his evenings doing homework or shooting packages. Then on the weekends, he would go to sporting events or out to his favorite restaurant.
No rules to say where you can go and when you can go there.
As a junior at Arizona State University, the world is Fragoso’s playground. Or at least it was.
When COVID-19 lockdowns took effect in March 2020, the world shrank to the size of one’s apartment or house. Daily activities were remolded to fit an online world, and everything became digitalized. Even daily conversations moved to Zoom or Skype.
Fragoso now attends class from his living room. His longest walk is from the bedroom to the fridge, instead of to and from campus. Afternoons by the pool with friends turned into afternoons on the couch watching Netflix or reading a book by himself.
When he moved back home to California with his family, after the spring semester was moved online only, outside was basically off limits. Trips to the store were only for emergencies. Although he didn’t freak out like a lot of people did, he said, he definitley was prepared to follow CDC guidelines.
Most Americans experienced something similar during the month of March when the virus started to spready rapidly. As the country went into lockdown, people made sizeable adjustments to their lives. All in an effort to keep everyone healthy.
Lockdown initiatives taken by state and local governments had good intentions. The concept works wonders for community safety and slowing the spread of the virus, when applied effectively. They’re supposed to be short term, lasting six weeks. Just enough to slow the spread.
On the outside, it looks like everyone has adjusted, and this is “new normal” might be okay.
On the inside, mental and emotional troubles are stirring loudly.
This is a big adjustment to ask anyone to make at any point in their lives. Children are missing out on social interactions that are so crucial to their development and well-being.
Parents are struggling to find ways to cope with having the family around 24/7, and keeping their children happy and entertained while managing their own lives from their kitchen or living room.
But one age group is suffering the most.
Which age group do you think is most affected by mental disorders that were onset by COVID-19? Take this quiz to see how you match up.
Fragoso is just one young adult who has experienced changes in his mental and emotional well-being. Which, isn’t surprising. Young adults, ages 18–34 are most at risk for developing mental disorders onset by COVID-19. Individuals in this age group who are of more than one ethnicity are even more vulnerable.
Young adults experience so many life changes during this time of their life, and events like a pandemic diminish those experiences, or eliminate them completely. Young adults depend on social interactions to make friendships, meet potential mates, and catch opportunities.
Without them, life seems empty, even pointless. The spark of the unknown has been replaced with the dull ache of predictability.
Amiliano Fragoso shares how COVID-19 lockdowns impacted his overall well-being.
Lockdowns, fear, and loneliness are all contributing factors to the rising depression and anxiety rates across America. This new lifestyle is hardly easy to cope with, and the statistics prove it.
49% of Americas young adults reported experiencing anxiety, and 36% experienced depression during the lockdown.
2020 saw one of the highest increases in anxiety and depression rates in a given year. Events like 9/11 or the Ebola breakout tend to cause these jumps to happen. The COVID-19 pandemic paints a similar picture, but much more colorfully.
In nine months, depression and anxiety rates increased by 19.3%.
The statistics can also be broken down by demographic. Across the board, women are twice as affected as men are. 22.2% of women reported feelings of anxiety or depression, versus 21.9% of males.
Asian-Americans experienced the highest prevalence of depression out of any ethnicity, at 18.7%. They are also searching for mental health resources more than ever before.
Mental Health America’s (MHA) annual screening program brought to light the alarming mental health crisis brought on by COVID-19. The report shows varying types and levels of severity of depression.
Respondents chose loneliness, isolation, current events, and COVID-19 as the leading cause of their increased symptoms. So, 2020 has been an extremely hard year even without the pandemic.
The mental impacts extend beyond just anxiety and depression. Psychosis, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, and alcohol/substance abuse have all increased as well across the country.
As COVID-19 spread throughout the United States, it not only resulted in greater morbidity and mortality in terms of physical health but also had disastrous effects on the mental health of the nation.
These figures offer just a glimpse into the reality of mental health issues in America, but are scary nonetheless.
Here in early December, it seems the world never really got out of what was supposed to be a short-lived lockdown. Social distancing is heavily enforced, many popular places remain closed, and masks have become the newest wardrobe staple.
Now, it looks like the country might be headed into another lockdown, as a second wave of the virus builds. But, did the first one ever really end?
The CDC has offered suggestions on how to take care of one’s mental health during a pandemic. The list includes healthy ways to cope with stress, and important information the public should be aware of.
Regardless, 2020 and the Coronavirus have left stabbing effects on people’s lives, and crippled their old definitions of happiness. Factor in job loss, failing economies, and isolation from family and friends, and it’s no wonder we’re seeing such scary statistics.
The real question becomes then, is there any way to protect physical, mental, and emotional health at a time like this? Or will the world have to sacrifice one health for another?