CDC: Pandemic fuels threefold increase in rates of depression, anxiety

A person walking in a skyway in a quiet downtown.
Few pedestrians walk along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis on March 30 as the state's stay-home order went into effect.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

A report out this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sheds light on the mental toll the pandemic is having on Americans.

It says nearly 41 percent of adults reported adverse mental health conditions in June, with those reporting depression and anxiety up threefold from the same time last year.

“The numbers completely echo what we’re seeing in clinic — and have been seeing in clinic,” said Dr. Jon Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic.

“I’m reminded that back in March when we were scrubbing our schedules and there really weren’t people coming into the clinic, our behavioral health clinician was, by far, the busiest member of our team,” he said. “That already spoke to the anxiety and stress that was increasing at that time.”

The latest data show people of color, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults and young adults are experiencing higher levels of distress.

Hallberg said anyone who needs help shouldn’t let the pandemic keep them from seeking it.

“We need to be socially connected as much as we can — reaching out to family, reaching out to friends, that’s key,” he said. “And I know there are a lot of people who are reluctant to engage in their routine health care or reach out to their providers for fear of contracting the virus. It’s important that we state that clinics, hospitals, urgent cares have figured this out now. We know how to do this. Do not hesitate to reach out to us.”

This reporting is part of Call To Mind, our MPR initiative to foster new conversations about mental health.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.