US President Donald Trump speaks about a Trump administration plan aimed at helping to prevent suicides by US veterans and other Americans, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
In a recent panel survey of more than 5,400 people, nearly 11% of United States adults reported seriously contemplating suicide in June. That is nearly double the percentage who did so last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated.
According to a report released Thursday, the CDC asked 5,412 participants in a survey if they seriously considered suicide in the 30 days preceding the survey performed the last week of June. The findings revealed that 10.7% of Americans reported contemplating suicide compared to 4.3% who reported the same thing throughout 2018. The study also found that 40% of Americans reported some form of mental health issue or substance abuse related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The percentages were far higher in certain groups, including essential workers and ethnic and racial minorities. The study found that the groups with the highest rates of suicide ideation were unpaid caregivers for adults, citing 30% who contemplated it in June. The other group highly affected was the 18- to 24 age group with 25% reporting having those thoughts.
Ethnic and racial minority groups were found to be disproportionately affected as well. The report said 15.1% of Black and 18.6% of Hispanic Americans reported seriously thinking about suicide in June.
Besides an increase in suicide ideation, the study found that there was also an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety. The rate of depression symptoms quadrupled in number and anxiety tripled compared to the second quarter of 2019.
About 13% of those surveyed said they increased or started using substances to cope with stress during June.
The authors of the report stated factors need to be investigated such as social isolation, unemployment and financial concerns, lack of school structure, and forms of violence, to see how they serve as additional stressors. The report pointed out that the increased percentages of these mental and behavioral health effects highlights the impact this pandemic has on the population. The study authors stated the report also helped with “identification of populations at increased risk for psychological distress and unhealthy coping." It suggested expanded use of telehealth to provide services to those in need.