American adults reported more problems with depression, new or increased substance use and suicidal thoughts during the Covid-19 pandemic, but even higher levels of Hispanic people reported these mental health issues, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reports of certain mental and substance use disorders are not generally higher for one racial or ethnic group or another, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the CDC Thursday, although racial and ethnic minority groups typically have less access to treatment.
During this pandemic, a larger number of people have reported feeling depressed. In 2019, the National Health Interview Survey found that about 7% of adults reported feelings of depression; by April-May of 2020, 23.5% of adults reported depression.
For Hispanic people, the numbers reporting depression were even higher in April-May of last year, nearly 29% of Hispanic people reported feelings of depression during this time period. More than twice as many Hispanic people as White people reported problems with depression.
Hispanic people were also four times as likely to report having problems with suicidal thoughts than people in the Black community. About 40% of Hispanic survey respondents reported an increase in substance use to help cope with the stress of the pandemic, compared to about 15% of all other respondents.
Compared to any other racial or ethnic group, Hispanic adults also reported higher amounts of psychological stress related to not having stable housing and not having enough to eat.
The CDC said more public health measures are needed to address the mental and behavioral health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the interventions need to be tailored for racial and ethnic minority groups.
“The mental health and psychosocial needs of U.S. adults, including persons in racial and ethnic minority groups, are an important consideration when promoting community resilience and preserving access to and provision of services during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report said.