We have all suffered a tremendous amount of stress over the past year — from various COVID mental health issues to plain COVID fatique. For most of 2020 and the early part of 2021, our lives have been dominate by fears and worries rooted in the global pandemic, and it has taken its toll on our mental health. This has left some wondering what are the US states with the highest COVID depression rates.
Sunday Citizen released a study that looks at statistics regarding anxiety, depression, and other related mental health activities for all fifty states and Washington D. C.. The resulting data creates a general barometer for the effect COVID-19 has had on mental health in different areas of the country and allows you to see how your state measures up to other states in relation to general feelings of depression and anxiety.
How the Data Was Compiled
Sunday Citizen used data collected from the U. S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey to compile their report. The data represented in the study was collected over two periods during the pandemic — April 23 to May 5, 2020, and Feb. 17 to March 1, 2021. Participants were asked to rate the number of days per week they felt anxious or depressed, and whether or not they had received therapy or taken medication to manage either of these conditions.
States with the Highest Overall Anxiety Rate
The five states with the highest overall anxiety level were:
- New Mexico
Each of these five states had an overall anxiety rate of well over 50%, with Oregon topping out the list with a rate of 58.7%. One out of every three adults in Oregon ages 30-39 polled in February of this year responded that they felt anxious or on edge several days a week. That number is up 6% from April 2020. Washington, Oregon’s Pacific Northwest neighbor, didn’t fare much better with an overall anxiety rate of 55.3%.
States with the Highest Overall Depression Rate
The five states with the highest overall depression rate were:
- New Mexico
Four of the five states with the highest overall depression rate also appeared in the list of states with the highest overall anxiety rate. The overall depression rates were slightly lower than their anxiety counterparts, topping out at 48.1% in Kentucky. Interestingly, the top five depression rates were a lot closer in range than the anxiety rates as well, with Kentucky only separated from Oregon by 0.4%.
Coping with Anxiety & Depression During COVID
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer a number of healthy ways to combat the stress that can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Some of them include:
- Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media.
- Taking care of your body by eating properly, getting exercise and plenty of sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Making time to unwind.
- Staying connected with friends and family and/or community or faith-based groups.
The CDC also recommends that we make an effort to reach out to those in need, stating that “[h]elping others cope with stress through phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely or isolated.”
If you or your loved ones are suffering from feelings of anxiety or depression you can find free and confidential crisis resources here.