Jun 3, 2020 - Health

Mental health screenings are rising during the pandemic

Illustration of a brain in a locked cage.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The advocacy group Mental Health America says it's seen a big increase in anxiety and depression since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Why it matters: The pandemic and ensuing lockdown have triggered increased loneliness and isolation while also making in-person help harder to access.

By the numbers: More than 211,000 people took one of Mental Health America's anonymous online screenings in May. Almost four times more people used those online tools in May than in January.

  • Roughly 88,000 of those screenings showed signs of anxiety or depression, the group said. More than 21,000 reported thinking about suicide or self-harm.

Between the lines: This is just an anecdotal data source, but there are plenty of other signs the pandemic and ensuing lockdown have taken a toll on people.

  • The Food and Drug Administration announced shortages of the antidepressant Zoloft. Prescriptions in the U.S. hit an all-time record in March, Bloomberg reports.

If you have any thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please pick up the phone right now and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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