Nearly 25% of US young adults used mental health care during COVID pandemic

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In a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scientists found that the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic may have led to a big jump in the number of young American adults seeking help for mental health woes.

Between 2019 and 2021, the percentage of American adults overall who said they’d sought and received any mental health treatment over the past year rose from 19.2% to 21.6%.

But the rise was concentrated among younger adults—those aged 18 to 44.

In this group, the receipt of mental health care rose from 18.5% in 2019 to 23.2% in 2021. That means that close to 1 in every 4 young American adults is now battling some mental health issue.

In contrast, among adults over the age of 44, the percentage who had received any mental health treatment did not change significantly during this time period, hovering around 20%,

The team found among adults under the age of 45, the rate at which mental care was sought rose for both women and men, although in 2021 rates of mental health care were significantly higher for women (28.6%) compared to men (17.8%).

Young white American adults had the highest use of mental health care in 2021 (30.4%), while rates were much lower among young Black adults (14.8%), Hispanics (12.8%), and Asians (10.8%).

As to geography, the team found Americans living in rural areas were slightly more likely to have needed mental health care in 2021 than folks in large cities (25.2% vs. 22.2%, respectively).

However, the CDC team said these differences were not significant.

If you care about mental health, please read studies that commonly used mental drugs may harm cognitive functions, and 6 daily habits to reduce stress & anxiety.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies about 8 things that can destroy your mental health, and results showing scientists find a core feature of depression.

The study was conducted by Emily Terlizzi et al and published as NCHS Data Brief.

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