Many young adults experiencing high levels of psychological distress during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to take a toll on mental health nationwide.

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A recent Pew Research Center shows about 41% of adults have experienced psychological distress at least once since March 2020.

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This latest national survey shows many people are experiencing anxiety and loneliness.

The Pew Research Center interviewed the same people several times over the last two and half years.

It found a majority of adults under 30 experienced high levels of psychological distress at least once since the pandemic started.

“I think it’s a time of lots of transition - getting into college, graduated from college, having a baby, getting one’s first house, all of those transitions that go in that 18 to 29 age [range] and COVID has really complicated that,” said Dr. Nadine Kaslow, Emory University School of Medicine.

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The Pew Research Center survey found one of the most common forms of distress is trouble sleeping.

The survey also highlights some disparities. This includes higher levels of distress for low-income families and among minorities who have faced health and financial challenges.

“One of the things that I really worry about is that the people who are struggling the most with their mental health are also having sort of the most challenges financially and sort of in other ways in life,” said Dr. Kaslow. “We really need to be very mindful about that.”

Kaslow also believes this latest survey reflects the long-term psychological effect of the pandemic.

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“How is this negatively affecting people’s functioning? Or how are people functioning despite these increased experiences of psychological distress? What are people doing to take care of themselves - to help themselves,” said Kaslow.

Experts say more people are seeking counseling since the pandemic hit. But they also want services to be more accessible especially for low-income families.

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