The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Having a Major Impact On Americans’ Mental Health, Survey Says

72% of Americans say their life has been interrupted by the pandemic

By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.
April 8, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has completely changed most of our lives. We’ve been instructed to stay home at all times, isolated in our houses and apartments, listening to blaring sirens driving by 24 hours a day. It will be quite some time before we know the long-term effects of the pandemic on our mental health, but thanks to a new survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, we have some insights into how it’s impacting us now.

In short, the coronavirus outbreak is wreaking havoc on our mental health, with 72 percent of respondents saying that COVID-19 has impacted their lives. And we’re not optimistic either: 75 percent of people believe that “the worst is yet to come.” 

The economy has been a significant source of anxiety, with 52 percent worried that they will be laid off or lose their job, and 45 percent concerned that they will lose income because of a workplace closure or reduced hours. Also, 57 percent of respondents are anxious about putting themselves at risk of exposure to the virus because they can’t afford to stay home and miss work. For others, this fear is very real: 39 percent report that they have already either lost their job, lost income, or had their hours reduced without pay because of the pandemic. 

Overall, 45 percent of those surveyed believe that the worry and stress resulting from the coronavirus outbreak has had a negative impact on their mental health. Broken down by gender, more women (54 percent) report a decrease in mental well-being than men (37 percent). The bottom line is that this pandemic — and all the uncertainty that comes with it — is really stressing us out.

At this point there is no clear end in sight, so it’s important that we take care of ourselves, especially when it comes to our mental health. If you’d like to talk to a therapist, there are more online options available than ever. Also, you can try practicing self-compassion, finding ways to be hopeful, or spending even 10 minutes outside.

About the writer:

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and writer as well as an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University. She has written for print and online publications, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe AtlanticRolling StoneCNNFodor’sLifehackerReader’s Digest and Playboy.

Outlier Disclaimer

This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.

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