(NBC News) A staggering number of Americans are out of a job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts worry that could spark a mental health crisis.
According to a recent study that looked at the Great Recession, those who experienced financial, house or job-related hardships were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
A 2014 Gallup poll found the longer Americans remained unemployed the more likely they were to report poor psychological well-being.
“The financial insecurities and blow to one’s self esteem can directly affect one’s mental health,” explains National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Joshua Gordon.
Dr. Gordon says the problem is compounded by the loss of health insurance.
He’s leading a national initiative to address mental health and suicide prevention in the wake of COVID-19.
“We know from prior crisis and epidemics that the mental health will increase over the weeks and months following the disaster,” he notes.
For now, he says focus on coping, eating and sleeping well, and reaching out to others.
“People who love you can’t care for you and help you unless they know you need help,” he says.
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