Pandemic mental health diagnoses increased in D.C.
Mental health diagnoses in D.C. during the pandemic were up 15% above the baseline, per a new Georgetown University report for the D.C. Auditor's Office.
The big picture: The report sheds new light on the challenges people faced as the spread of COVID-19 upended livelihoods.
- There was a 200% increase in calls to D.C.’s suicide hotline in the first year of the pandemic, compared with the previous year.
The District’s opioid crisis hit new heights in April 2020, as 48 people died from overdoses — a 78% increase from the previous month and the highest number seen during the entire pandemic.
- Overdoses have since fluctuated at a higher rate compared to before the pandemic, per the report.
How it works: Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security used 50 datasets to create the report, including Medicaid data and emergency room visits.
The bottom line: Since the pandemic, D.C. has expanded its options for treating substance use disorders and mental health.
- Among the changes were making telemedicine more accessible to low-income residents on Medicaid and expanding the availability of Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug.
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