Even before the pandemic, the US was experiencing a sharp increase in the numbers of people suffering from mental illness. Depression and anxiety, the most commonly experienced mental illnesses, are rife. Over 19% of Americans are currently suffering from anxiety disorders, and roughly 10% are suffering from major depression. Of all these, less than half are receiving treatment. Mental disorders are the most costly conditions in the US, costing us more than $300 billion annually in lost wages, cost of treatment, and disability benefits.
The pandemic has caused a sharp upswing in the numbers of people suffering from mental disorders. Loneliness is epidemic, more and more couples and families are experiencing conflict, and the rates of suicide and drug abuse have gone up. Our mental health resources are strained as never before. If there is any benefit to this it is a lessening of stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment.
If you or someone you love is suffering from mental illness, there are resources that can help you. The following are good places to start:
National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), an agency of the federal government that is a major source for information about mental health and mental illness.
National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), a grassroots organization that provides information and resources for those suffering from mental illness and their friends and families.