In a recent survey, 25 percent of young adults reported having “seriously considered suicide” due to COVID-19 — and they're not the only group at increased risk.

By Kylie Gilbert
Aug 24, 2020 @ 4:59 pm
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It's no secret that COVID-19 has taken a toll on just about everyone's mental and emotional well-being — even celebrities. Ask any therapist and they'll tell you they've been busier than ever, both with new and existing clients grappling with unprecedented levels of anxiety and grief. What's also become crystal clear is that certain groups are at higher risk of experiencing serious mental health consequences as a result of the pandemic.

In late June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey of 5,000 adults to "assess mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the pandemic." What they found: 25% of young adults ages 18-24 reported having “seriously considered suicide” in the previous 30 days due to the pandemic. (By comparison, this dropped to about 11% when looking at all survey respondents under 65.)

The study authors note that the percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide was also significantly higher among unpaid caregivers and essential workers, as well as certain racial groups — including Hispanic and Black respondents. (Confirmation that in all regards, coronavirus has never been color blind.)

Unsurprisingly, the survey also concluded that "symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019." Of all participants surveyed, 31% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, with 26 percent experiencing symptoms of trauma or stress-related disorders.  (As InStyle previously reported, while anyone can be diagnosed with PTSD, it's women who face a greater risk of developing the condition.)

Although the study method has its flaws (the web-based survey results were self-reported), the researchers concluded that identifying these groups "at increased risk for psychological distress and unhealthy coping can inform policies to address health inequity, including increasing access to resources for clinical diagnoses and treatment options."

They also noted that expanded use of telehealth (check out our list of low-cost or completely free inclusive mental health resources) "might reduce COVID-19-related mental health consequences."

 If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text Crisis Text Line at 741-741.