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COVID-19, Mental Health, and the Need for Equity
September 3, 2020 @ 10:00 am - September 4, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
This year, the world was thrown into a global pandemic. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increased, so did the associated experiences of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. The mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects – but we know that not everyone has equal access to care. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions – or the one in two who are at risk of developing them – we need to take personal, professional, and policy measures now to address them. And we need to do it an equitable way.
MHA has been monitoring its Online Screening Program throughout the pandemic. As of early June, more than 7,000 people each day were going to MHA’s website to take a voluntary, anonymous mental health screen. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 170,000 total screeners screened positive (moderate to severe) for either anxiety or depression because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, more than 25,000 depression screeners reported thinking of suicide or self-harm on more than half the days – a number that suggests a coming wave of mental impacts that could be of epidemic proportions. What is most troubling is that the numbers – consistent with the numbers from the U.S. Government’s Census Bureau – demonstrate not only that there is not yet any relief from the mental health impacts of the pandemic, but that the impacts actually seem to be spreading and accelerating.
In addition, COVID-19 brought to light what many in the health care and social justice communities already knew – that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately negatively impacted and are dying at much higher rates. Adding to that the systemic racism that so many people of color bear every day, the trauma and mental health implications are significant. Past trauma is prominently mentioned as the reason that people experience serious mental health conditions today – and nearly half of those taking a mental health screening with MHA who received a moderate to severe result since Spring 2020 cited trauma as the reason.
The last few months have changed everything – and the world is looking at “a new normal.” Our 2020 Annual Conference – now virtual – will discuss it all. From increases in depression and anxiety rates, to adjusting workplaces and workplace mental health, to addressing disproportionate inequities due to systemic barriers and historical adversity – MHA is talking about it. Join us.
Please note this event will be ADA Accessible.