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Anxiety, Depressive Disorders Increased August 2020 to February 2021

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- During Aug. 19, 2020, to Feb. 1, 2021, the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased, as did the percentage reporting that they needed but did not receive mental health counseling or therapy, according to research published in the March 26 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Anjel Vahratian, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted the Household Pulse Survey to monitor trends in mental health status and access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors describe trends in the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder and those who sought mental health services.

The researchers observed a significant increase in the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder in the previous seven days during Aug. 19, 2020, to Feb. 1, 2021 (from 36.4 to 41.5 percent) and in the percentage who reported that they needed but did not receive mental health counseling or therapy in the previous four weeks (from 9.2 to 11.7 percent). The largest increases were seen for adults aged 18 to 29 years and those with less than a high school education.

"These trends might be used to evaluate the impact of strategies that address mental health status and care of adults during the pandemic and to guide interventions for groups that are disproportionately affected," the authors write.

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