We are facing a national mental health crisis of epidemic proportions – one I believe that will be far greater than the health impact of COVID 19 on Individuals. Both depression and suicide rates have tripled.
According to a study done by theSchool of Public Health at Boston University[i],the most extensive scale study into the investigation of American’s MentalHealth and a study that included participants across all demographics – American’s depression rates have climbed to 28% from 8.5 before the pandemic.
The journal of the AMA[ii]shows that we are experiencing the highest adjusted suicide rates since 1941.Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. World pandemic related suicides have been widely reported in the hardest COVID-hit countries, affecting the youth, the elderly, front line health care workers, people awaiting test results, and those affected by coronavirus-related bankruptcies.
Social distancing, stay at home orders, stress related to job insecurities, job loss, and financial concerns will, according to the AMA, result in far more suicides in years to come.
Social isolation contributes to creating the PERFECT STORM for those who are depressed and having suicidal thoughts. At the same time, the social fabric of interconnectedness has been worn thin, if not ripped apart completely. Lack of religious services has increased social isolation. Lack of accessibility to family, friends, and in-person meetings of support groups, such as 12-step meetings, makes things harder to bear. Wait times at suicide hotlines have more than quadrupled. People suffering from chronic pain have been unable to seek immediate medical attention, which contributes to suicides.
Let’s face it – turning on the news can be depressing for those who are not even depressed. Gun sales are surging, giving people more access to firearm-related suicides.
The CDC reports that over 41% of adults say that they have a least one mental health effect of:
- Trauma or stress-related disorder
18% say they are starting or increasing substance use to cope.
ADDICTION IS ON THE RISE
Economic stress, social isolation, decreased access to a community, barriers to mental health help, boredom, and illness have increased drug and alcohol use. Opioid deaths are at an all-time high. According to the Washington Post, overdoses are up 42%; opioid use is on the rise, and in March, alcohol sales were up 55%. Coronavirus has caused an enormous spike in overdoses of every kind.
The disease of addiction thrives on isolation, and people are isolated like never before. Relapse rates have tripled as people in recovery NEED connection and a support system. Zoom does not take the place of people being with people. People in treatment for alcohol score much higher on depression scales. Individuals who experience major depressive issues are twice as likely to develop an alcohol addiction. Anxiety rates are twice as high for alcoholics. Processing alcohol alters the stress response in people contributing to chronic stress.
So we see the problems we are facing as a world today – mental health issues, suicides, and addiction.
This is where yoga and other mind-body tools come in to solve and help mitigate the problems. In my book Healing Trauma with Yoga, we explore the effects of trauma on the body, the mind, and the brain. Healing Trauma with Yoga offers solutions to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and trauma. An impactful book full of tools and techniques that are self-directed, we can all use these tools to heal ourselves and others. Additionally, YogaFit offers many mentalhealth webinars and workshops for practical applications of yoga, meditation, breathing, sound healing, Ayurveda, and more.