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Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Life May Seem Normal, But Our Mental Health Might Have Missed The Memo

Some people never quite shook off the anxiety and blues that spiked during the height of the pandemic. Doctors say covid depression is real and shouldn’t be ignored as the pandemic drags on and people return to their new version of normal.

The New York Times:
Covid Depression Is Real. Here’s What You Need to Know

The World Health Organization noted this year that anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent across the globe in just the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. And researchers have continued to find more evidence that the coronavirus wreaked havoc on our mental health: In a 2021 study, more than half of American adults reported symptoms of major depressive disorder after a coronavirus infection. The risk of developing these symptoms — as well as other mental health disorders — remains high up to a year after you’ve recovered. (Sheikh, 11/12)

The New York Times:
As The Pandemic Drags On, Americans Struggle For New Balance

Most Americans want to get back to normalcy and are unwilling to let Covid rule their lives any longer, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, said in an interview. “Those two sets of goals are achievable,” Dr. Jha said, so long as Americans keep getting vaccinated, test when necessary and wear masks in crowded public settings. “We shouldn’t act like it’s 2019,” he added, “but we also should not act like it’s 2020.” (Rabin, 11/14)

In other mental health news —

The Boston Globe:
Teens And Young Adults Are Self-Diagnosing Mental Illness On TikTok. What Could Go Wrong?

On the positive side, the TikTok videos (or postings on other social media sites) can give people insight into themselves and propel them to seek professional help, experts say. If you look for it, it’s even possible to find content from actual mental health experts, and all this attention on mental health is bringing what was once a taboo subject into the light. But too often, experts say, suggestible people mistake having one or two symptoms with having the disorder itself. (Teitell, 11/15)

The Wall Street Journal:
How To Prevent Winter Depression With Shorter, Darker Days Approaching

For people dreading the approach of shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight, now is the time to prepare your body to fend off the winter blues. Many of us notice a natural turndown in mood as the brain responds to less daylight in the winter, especially in the northern part of the country, says Kelly Rohan, professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont, who researches seasonal affective disorder. You might have a dip in energy levels, want to sleep more or crave more carbohydrate-heavy foods, she says. (Dizik, 11/14)

Health Harms Of Mass Shootings Ripple Across Communities

But a growing body of research reveals that the negative effects of mass shootings spread much farther than previously understood, harming the health of local residents who were not touched directly by the violence. Mental health experts say the recognition should prompt authorities to direct more attention and resources toward preventing such events — and helping a broader group of people after they occur. (Ollove, 11/14)

Ketamine Telehealth Companies May Face Trouble When The Public Emergency Expires

Covid-era measures that allowed doctors to remotely prescribe ketamine, an often-abused drug increasingly popular for treatment-resistant depression, could unwind this spring. That could spell trouble for companies such as Mindbloom and Nue Life that will be forced to rethink their businesses amid concerns that at-home access has increased abuse of the drugs. (Huet, 11/14)

Modern Healthcare:
Mental Health Epidemic Creates Emergency Department Backlog

Patients are being held in emergency departments for as long as months as they await psychiatric beds. Many outpatient referral partners have cut back or are struggling with staffing. The patient burden is straining ill-equipped hospitals, taxing already overburdened staff and delaying care. (Kacik and Hudson, 11/14)


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