Mental health cases continue to increase among Houston-area residents as COVID surge continues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The pandemic has highlighted a big problem in the United States as it relates to mental health, and now, with the delta variant front and center, many say they've been dealing with high levels of anxiety.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently conducted the Household Pulse Survey. The 20-minute survey studies how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting households across the country.

Results show that moderate to severe anxiety peaked in 37.3% of adults in the U.S. during the pandemic, which is up 6.9% from 2019.

When it comes to depression among adults, reported cases jumped from 7% to 30.2% over the length of the pandemic.

Overall, the greatest concern, according to the report, is anxiety among young adults. During the pandemic, 43.5% of young adults said they had moderate to severe anxiety.

"For most of us, this is the first time we have seen anything like this," said Houston-area doctor Brooke Goldner. "A pandemic, a virus that has killed people from all over the world ... It's a scary thing that we have lived through."

Additionally, a survey from McKinsey & Company found that roughly one in three workers said returning to the office after working from home negatively impacted their mental health.

Dr. Lorna Breen was one of the many known faces of health care workers overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked hands-on with COVID-19 patients in the ER during the height of the initial outbreak. Breen died by suicide during the pandemic.

On Friday, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act passed in the Senate. The bill is aimed to promote better mental health among health care workers.

Goldner adds if your anxiety or depression is severe, you should seek professional help immediately.

The Harris Health System is operating a 24/7 statewide COVID mental health support line. Residents can call (833) 986-1919 for trauma-informed support and psychological first aid.

For more on mental health help during the pandemic, follow Mayra Moreno on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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