Report Looks At Possible Mental Health Effects Of Pandemic

A new report looks at the mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, predicting a 32% increase in suicides in the coming year if something isn’t done to help those who are struggling. Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, based in Grand Rapids, commissioned the report. Co-author Scott Halstead tells WSJM News it shows those who are the most at risk include healthcare professionals.

“You think about teams in the Detroit area, in New York, early on in the pandemic who were faced with really overwhelming numbers and difficulty figuring out how to treat people, couldn’t get supplies,” Halstead said. “Those people were at really high risk.”

Halstead says the researchers looked at previous epidemics and economic downturns to make their predictions.

“It was alarming to look at as much as a percent increase in suicide rate for every percent in unemployment, for example.”

Halstead says also at risk are those who had pre-existing mental health conditions and those who have lost their jobs. The report notes an increase in substance abuse, especially alcohol, since the beginning of the crisis. Halstead says it’s important for someone who is struggling to reach out for help, and also important that plans to be made to get help to those who need it, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. You can see the report right here.