Editorial: Mental health and COVID-19 | Editorial

Mental health

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this extraordinary time of economic uncertainty and societal upheaval.

Our routines have changed. For the most part, schools remain shuttered, moving from the physical classroom to the virtual realm. Unemployment spiked. You don’t leave home without a face mask and an ample supply of hand sanitizer. Some of us wear gloves. For the most part, no more hugs or handshakes. Social distancing is the new social norm.

Recent studies bear out how the global coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on our mental health.

Nearly one-quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published earlier this month in the medical journal, JAMA Network Open. That’s almost three times the number before the global coronavirus pandemic began.

“It’s not one of these ‘we get hit and it’s over’ kind of things. That is, psychologically speaking, the easiest thing to recover from,” George Everly, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, told National Public Radio.

Usually when a disaster ends, people begin to rebuild their lives and regain a sense of normalcy, he said. But not with this pandemic, with an unknown course and numbers that continue to climb.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the United States broke 7 million on Friday. American deaths exceed 204,000. Globally, more than 33 million cases have been reported, with the number of deaths approaching 1 million on Monday. More than 146,000 cases have been reported in Virginia, with more than 3,100 deaths.

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