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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Poll: #Pandemic Takes Toll On #MentalHealth Of Young Adults

Cheyanne Mumphrey and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher,

  • FILE - In this  June 1, 2020 file photo, a woman looks through a window at a near-empty terminal at an airport in Atlanta. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the mental health of young Americans, according to a new poll that finds adults under 35 especially likely to report negative feelings or experience physical or emotional symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP / Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this June 1, 2020 file photo, a woman looks through a window at a near-empty terminal at an airport in Atlanta. The #coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the #mentalhealth of young … more

PHOENIX (AP) — The #coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the #mentalhealth of young #Americans, according to a new poll that finds adults under 35 especially likely to report negative feelings or experience physical or emotional symptoms associated with #stress and #anxiety.

A majority of Americans ages 18 through 34 — 56% — say they have at least sometimes felt isolated in the past month, compared with about 4 in 10 older Americans, according to the latest #COVID Response Tracking Study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Twenty-five percent of young adults rate their #mentalhealth as fair or poor, compared with 13% of older adults, while 56% of older adults say their #mentalhealth is excellent or very good, compared with just 39% of young adults.

In the midst of the #pandemic, young adults are navigating life transitions such as starting college and finding jobs, all without being able to experience normal social activities that might be especially essential for people who are less likely to have already married and started their own families. Some young people are just beginning their adult lives amid a recession, and older members of the group are already experiencing their second.

Christina Torres, 32, a middle school teacher in Honolulu, had to postpone her June wedding and was not able to travel to her grandmother’s funeral in California because of the #pandemic. She misses being able to deal with stress by going to the gym and getting together with friends.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

The study found that younger Americans also consistently show higher rates of psychosomatic symptoms, like having trouble sleeping, getting headaches or crying, compared to other age groups. The likelihood of experiencing such symptoms decreases with age.

One possible explanation for the age gap could be that young adults have less experience dealing with a public health crisis, said Tom Smith, who has directed NORC’s General Social Survey since 1980. Smith, 71, says he grew up being told not to play in the dirt because of the risk of contracting polio.

“This experience facing a #pandemic is completely new for most younger adults,” he said.

Torres thought some of the hardship her generation is experiencing now could be attributed to their lack of historical context, compared with her parents’ generation.

“So it kind of feels like, oh my God, can this get any worse? When is it going to get better?” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s going to get better.”

Young adults also face constant exposure to #socialmedia, which could make negative feelings about the #virus even worse. The survey found that frequently watching, reading or talking about the #virus is consistently linked with higher rates of negative #mentalhealthsymptoms.

Wayne Evans, 18, a freshman at North Carolina State University studying remotely after being sent home because of #virus cases at the school, said #socialmedia provided daily reminders of #COVID-19.

“In some ways #socialmedia has added to my stressors, yes. Just the information overload that’s unavoidable on #socialmedia platforms can be distracting,” he said.

The survey found 67% of young adults, but just 50% of those older, say they have at least sometimes felt that they were unable to control the important things in life. And 55% of 18 to 34 year olds say they have felt difficulties piling up too high to overcome, compared with 33% of older adults.

In Arizona, Desiree Eskridge, 17, decided to study remotely in California for her first year at Northern Arizona University partly because she did not want to risk spreading #COVID-19 to her family, which is prone to sickness. She also worried she would get sick and have to pay back a student loan for a semester she could not finish on the campus.

She did move into her grandparents’ house so she could still be more on her own. She relies on friends who are living on campus and taking the same classes to explain things she did not quite understand during lectures and has to schedule extra Zoom appointments with her professors for additional help.

“It’s extremely stressful, but me being home makes it a little easier because I can do it all in my own time and my own space and I don’t have to be in this new environment where I have to learn everything all over,” she said.

_____

Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin in Wheat Ridge, Colorado contributed to this report. Kelleher reported from Honolulu.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

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