Previous Poor Mental Health Linked to Higher Rates of COVID: Study

Several studies have shown that the pandemic had a devastating effect on people’s mental health and affected other psychiatric conditions, but a novel study looked at things from a different direction.
The research, conducted by the Yale School of Public Health and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, analyzed mental health levels across the country to establish that those with poor mental health prior to the pandemic have a higher chance of developing a COVID-19 infection.

The researchers used aggregate data from a survey conducted in 2,839 counties to conclude that between 2010 and 2019, a total of 2,172 counties (77%) experienced significant increases in the average number of days of poor mental health, including depression, stress and problems. emotional . Subsequent research revealed that the highest days of poor mental health in 2019 had a strong association with the rate of COVID-19 infections in 2020, leading researchers to believe that the pandemic did not cause new mental health problems, but which revealed previously ignored issues.

The analysis revealed that the worst mental health days and COVID rates were driven by some states: Arizona, Montana and Nevada.

Mental health [illustrative] PIXABAY

Lead researcher Yusuf Ransome expressed hope that the study will foster conversation about the urgency of mental health care.

“We call for policies that strengthen surveillance systems to better capture a variety of mental health outcomes in the population, address social inequalities that result in poor mental health, and funds to create, maintain, and equitably distribute mental health resources, including wellness care centers in every community in America, “he said.

Ransome added that the idea for the study was inspired by the height of the pandemic.

“Only a few studies that examined small fragments of the population had considered the possibility that poor mental health could be contributing to a higher burden of infection rather than vice versa. We wanted to examine whether these relationships also existed in the general population, addressing the lack of studies with an ecological approach, and produce evidence to strengthen calls for interventions ”.

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