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Mental Health Awareness Month: Acknowledging the Hidden Pandemic

As workers return to their offices and “the new normal,” here are suggestions for keeping them centered.

Buffy Naylor

May 3, 2022

6 Slides

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And while Dr. Fauci assures us the U.S. is not currently in a pandemic phase from coronavirus, Americans continue to struggle with a different, hidden pandemic: mental illness.

Every day, nearly 53 million Americans struggle to live with a mental illness, according to the CDC. That’s approximately 20% of the U.S. population. And according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the pandemic had severe and long-lasting mental and emotional effects, particularly among young adults and marginalized populations.

Nearly two in five adults (40%) struggled with mental health issues in 2020, compared to about one in five (20%) before the pandemic. NAMI reports that among people with mental illness, only 46% received treatment in 2020. The number is far lower for Black Americans (37%) Hispanics (35%) and Asian Americans (21%).

The crisis is especially acute among youth and young adults, as trends predating the pandemic have become even more ominous. In 2020, 75% of people aged 18–24 reported at least one mental health or substance use concern. In 2021, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher among adolescent girls than in 2020.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health has some tips to help employers and employees elevate mental health and well-being for a resilient workplace.

Scroll through the gallery above to see a few of their suggestions on keeping centered as they come to grips with “the new normal.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Buffy Naylor or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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