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Survey: Pandemic Has Worsened Mental Health of About a Third of Greater Cincinnati Adults

Mar 25, 2021

The direct toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is immense—550,000 Americans have died and almost 30 million have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But the impact of the pandemic stretches beyond that. In order to better understand the broader health impacts of the pandemic, the Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Health Issues Survey asked adults to assess how their physical and mental health has been affected since March 2020. 

It found that about one in three adults (32%) said their mental health had gotten worse, while almost two in three adults (61%) said their mental health had stayed the same. Very few adults (7%) said that their mental health had improved. 

Greater Cincinnati adults said the impact on physical health was slightly less: Three quarters (75%) said their physical health had stayed the same; 16% said it had gotten worse and 8% said their physical health was better. 

These data, along with specific differences among certain groups, are reflected in this infographic.  

“As more people in our region are vaccinated against COVID-19 and we return to more typical work, school and leisure activities, the direct physical impacts of the pandemic will hopefully be minimized in the coming months,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “But I’m concerned about the number of adults who indicate their mental health has gotten worse in the last year. We know that struggles with mental health can also affect substance abuse and suicide rates. Further, research has shown that mental health impacts last longer than physical health impacts. Our region will need to work together to address this ongoing health issue.”  

Coping with the stress of the pandemic in positive ways can be difficult but is important in order to preserve mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following activities to manage stress:  

  • Take breaks from the news and step away from social media. 
  • Take care of your physical health. For example, take walks as the weather begins to warm. 
  • Set aside time to unwind with activities such as meditation or reading a book.
  • Connect with others who can provide support.  

For more information on coping with stress during the pandemic, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html 

Anyone having trouble coping with mental health challenges should seek help. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/tools-resources/individuals/index.htm,  https://mindpeacecincinnati.com/covid-19/ or text START to 741-741. 

For additional information on the Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Health Issues Survey, please visit https://www.interactforhealth.org/about-covid-19-survey/.

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