It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on mental health. But new evidence shows that young adults, particularly those in Ohio, might be at especially increased risk of developing a mental health issue in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new study conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University and Kenyon College indicates that young adults may not bounce back from COVID as quickly as some have hoped. But do these claims hold up? Today, we’re going to review these new findings, compare them to the existing body of research, and give you essential information about how to safeguard mental wellbeing.
How COVID Affects Mental Health in Young Men
The aforementioned study interviewed 571 teenage boys and young men, and they reported a clear trend of worsening mental health. Among respondents, almost one third reported worsened mood and increased stress from March of 2020 to July of the same year. However, there were some additional factors that increased the likelihood that a young adult would report mental distress due to COVID-19:
- Higher socioeconomic status
- Lack of connection with friends and family due to the pandemic
- Older age
- A history of mental health issues like depression or anxiety
This information can help individuals and mental health professionals determine who may be most at risk for negative mental health effects due to COVID. And while there were no clear causes of these feelings, researchers do have reasonable guesses as to why young adults may face worsening mental health.
Many of these young adults spent the pandemic cooped up with parents who were also stuck at home, which could lead to interpersonal stress. And this could be especially problematic in homes that weren’t stable to begin with. In these situations, pandemic stress could exacerbate existing tensions and mental health issues, which would leave many young people unsure of how to get help.
However, this is only one study. And there is some reason to believe that it may not be reliable enough to make broad generalizations.
Limitations of This Study on Young Men and Mental Health
First, this study was only conducted on teenage boys and young men, meaning that it did not take information from young women or girls. This is not inherently a weakness, but it does mean that its results are hard to apply to all young adults.
Moreover, the research only looked at those living in more urban areas, so risk factors for mental health issues could be different for young adults in rural areas like Brown County.
And finally, 571 participants is not a large number of people when trying to look at broad trends in mental health. And all of these things together mean that while this study might be completely accurate, we have to look at supporting research to see if the claims in this study hold up.
Other Research on COVID-Related Mental Wellness in Young Adults
A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June of 2020 found that 25% of young adults (ages 18-24) had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. And in this same age range, 75% of respondents reported that they had one or more negative behavioral health symptoms (e.g., panic attacks or self-harming).
In comparison, among those 65 or older, only two percent reported seriously considering suicide, and only 15% reported negative mental health symptoms. This indicates that young adults may be experiencing worse mental health outcomes, on average, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
And unfortunately, these results seem to be the norm. A poll taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56% of young adults were struggling with an anxiety disorder or depression during the pandemic. Moreover, 25% of young adults reported substance abuse, compared to 13% of older adults. All of this research supports the conclusions of the Ohio study on COVID-19’s effect on mental health in young men, which means that young Ohioans need to monitor their mental health now more than ever.
Helping Young Adults Get Mental Health Treatment in Ohio
Given the overwhelming evidence that young adults need mental health support during the pandemic, it’s important for individuals to know about mental health care near them. But just as important is dispelling the myths about who needs mental health treatment.
There is a popular misconception that problems faced by young adults are not “serious” enough to warrant intensive mental health programming. But the reality is that nobody is too young to face a mental health crisis. And putting off mental health care because you feel “too young” to get help can seriously endanger your mental well-being.
Untreated mental illness can lead to leaning on drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. And the more one relies on those, the worse their mental health symptoms get. This leads to co-occurring disorders: mental health issues and addiction issues that develop together and worsen each other.
Whether you’re dealing with co-occurring disorders or standalone mental health conditions, we want to help. We have proudly served the Georgetown, Ohio community for years, and we’re glad to help any adult, regardless of age. If you need mental health support due to the coronavirus pandemic, then let us help.
If you’re ready to reach out for mental health support, then we’re ready to provide that care. Call our friendly admissions specialists at 937-483-4930 or submit your questions online. No matter your age, we are committed to serving our local community in Georgetown, Ohio.