Mental Health Needs to be Taken More Seriously

Rebecca Lim, Staff Writer

  Many public health institutes in the U.S. have focused on the physical aspects of COVID-19, such as symptoms to look out for. However, both these institutes and government officials have chosen to put an equally important aspect of this pandemic to the side: mental health. It’d be wrong to say that lockdowns, job losses, and death tolls aren’t affecting everyone mentally, in one way or another. 

  The U.S. government’s failure in providing mental health resources is already evident. A top emergency room doctor, who was a frontline worker, committed suicide. She had seen first hand scenes of dying patients and experienced the worst of the pandemic while working in a New York City hospital. She had no history of mental illness (New York Times). She, along with many other essential workers are suffering. It is of utmost importance that the government make these workers’ mental health a priority, or else the amount of mental health-related hospitalizations and suicides will most likely increase in the coming months.

  Even though medical workers and others on the frontlines are getting hit the hardest, no one is immune to the tremendous mental impacts of the pandemic. According to a recent study of 2,700 people, the majority being Americans, 67% of people reported feeling more stressed since the outbreak of COVID-19. 57% of people have had more anxiety since the outbreak (Forbes). The majority of these people are struggling mentally, and are finding it difficult to cope. Although feeling stressed and anxious because of this pandemic has become somewhat ‘normalized’ by government institutes like the CDC and the NIMH, they simply aren’t doing enough.

  The prioritization of physical health over mental health by both the government and the general public is nothing new. The incompetent amount and outreach of mental health resources has shown this prioritization. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, this lack of resources is the root of America’s mental health issues. Mental health being overlooked is nothing new for us, and the pandemic has put this fact on full display. If the government fails to focus on mental health during a global crisis, when will it? When are we going to start taking mental health as seriously as we should?