Mental Health Awareness Month: The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health

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Mental Health Awareness Month: The Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health

More than a year into the worst pandemic in more than a century, COVID-19 has taken on a toll on nearly everyone. In addition to economic insecurity and mounting deaths and hospitalizations, the coronavirus has caused devasting effects to our mental health.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost four times as many adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorders during the pandemic as before. And Black and Latinx adults showed particularly high rates.  Further, the pandemic exacerbated symptoms for many people with existing mental health disabilities.

Like those other congregate settings, individuals in mental health facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 illness.  In California’s five state psychiatric hospitals, where as many as a hundred patients share a space, almost 1,900 patients have tested positive for the coronavirus. And, tragically, at least 55 patients have died, with the highest number (21) of death coming from Coalinga State Hospital near Fresno.

Every year, Disability Rights California honors the individuals with disabilities who have lost their lives in state institutions through the California Memorial Project.  This year the state hospitals also provided a moment of silence on February 25, 2021. Please join us in remembering these individuals.

You can learn more about DRC advocacy during COVID at state hospitals here.

If you need help:

Accessing mental health resources during the Coronavirus

Mental Health Awareness Month – DRC’s Mental Health Litigation

Did you know that DRC has a unit that concentrates on litigation and advocacy for mental health consumers?  The Mental Health Practice Group brings innovative and ground-breaking litigation for and with people with mental health disabilities.

Recent work includes:

If you need legal assistance for a mental health law problem, please call our intake staff at 1-800-776-5746.

Other Resources and Mental Health Publications: