Americans’ Mental, Social and Behavioral Health

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It goes without saying that help for a community requires a multifaceted approach that includes the investigation of all cultural, environmental, and personal aspects. Thus, for the development of efficient strategies for the improvement of people’s mental health in the United States, it is essential to evaluate the whole situation and factors that contribute to its formation. Official surveys and states’ reports are highly beneficial for community counseling research. At the same time, they indicate that the deterioration of people’s mental health is not homogeneous across the country. Thus, it is affected by particular conditions that should be considered.

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In general, there are considerable issues related to the mental health of Americans, such as the high rates of unmet mental health disorders and limited access to mental health services. Before the pandemic caused by the global spread of the coronavirus infection, 19% of adults reported the presence of mental health illnesses (Reinert et al., 2021). In relation to children and adolescents, patterns are even more dramatic. Although only approximately 10% of young people suffer from severe mental health disorders, 60% of do not receive any medical treatment (Reinert et al., 2021). At the same time, every state has its own rates that contribute to statistics, however, population and size should be considered.

As a matter of fact, the consequences of the COVID-19-related pandemic impact the mental health of people all over the world. In New York State, the rates of anxiety and depression have tripled in comparison with pre-pandemic periods even if its mental health overall ranking is 6 and indicates “lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care” (Reinert et al., 2021, p. 9). Nevertheless, 37% of adults report poor mental health, with higher rates among Hispanic and Black New Yorkers – 42% and 39%, respectively (New York Health Foundation, 2021). Young people (ages 18–34 years) are the most vulnerable age group, with 49% of individuals reporting the presence of mental health issues (New York Health Foundation, 2021). In addition, income has a strong correlation with mental health as low-income New Yorkers are affected by the pandemic’s challenges to a greater degree in comparison with others.

The most considerable factors that lead to the deterioration of people’s mental health are the illness and death of friends and relatives, isolation from relatives and friends, a lack of social support, and job loss. The loss of beloved ones died from the coronavirus, health care providers’ experience, exposure to anxiety-inducing information, and uncertainty contribute to the development of prolonged stress and depression. In addition, stress, anxiety, fatigue, anger, despair, alcohol and substance abuse, and even suicide ideations are caused by isolation, related exposure to abuse and interpersonal violence in dysfunctional families, and distant education. Finally, job loss and financial struggles are directly associated with stress and anxiety.

At the same time, as previously mentioned, help requires taking into consideration multiple aspects. For instance, one of the fundamental assumptions that underlie the practice of modern community counseling includes the statement that “human development and behavior

take place in environmental contexts that have the potential to be nurturing or limiting” (Lewis et al., 2011, p. 19). In relation to the mental health of Americans, it is supported through the comparison of different territories. Utah is the state with an overall mental health ranking of 46 – it indicates “higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care” (Reinert et al., 2021, p. 9). It goes without saying that similar to other citizens, Utahns suffer from various mental health disorders, and the mental health of a considerable number of people is affected by the pandemic.

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Regardless of the availability of mental health workforce in the state, multiple individuals are uninsured. In addition, the accessibility of telemedicine and online health and support services is limited as well due to the absence of computers or Internet access. Factors that contribute to the development of mental health issues resemble the drivers of anxiety and stress in New York State and include job loss, financial struggles, vulnerability to the infection, isolation, and loss of family members and friends. However, in comparison with New Yorkers, Utahns are more resilient to the pandemic. According to the latest survey, the rates of alcohol-related emergencies, drug overdoses, and suicide deaths remain stable and do not substantially differ from pre-pandemic numbers (Utah Department of Health, n.d.). This ability of Utahns to cope with stress is determined not only by people’s physical health, household structures, and family finances but the exposure to additional challenges.

From a personal perspective, mental health is affected by multiple factors, including age, socioeconomic status, personal characteristics, and resilience. The latter may protect a person’s emotional state from anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. However, resilience is not only the peculiarity of a one’s character – it may be nurtured by the environment. For instance, in 2020, along with the lockdown, Utahns experienced racism-related civil unrest, a season of wildfires, a significant earthquake, and hurricane force winds that have affected their mental resilience. The same pattern may be observed in New York State in relation to Asian New Yorkers whose mental health disorders have substantially declined due to previous “racist and biased media and political coverage of the virus” that has targeted them and impacted their resilience (New York Health Foundation, 2021, p. 7). Thus, it is possible to conclude that environmental conditions have an impact on human behavior and development.

References

Lewis, J. A., Lewis, M. D., Daniels, J. A., & D’Andrea, M. J. (2011). Community counseling: A multicultural-social justice perspective (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.

New York Health Foundation. (2021). Mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic in New York State. Web.

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Reinert, M.., Nguyen, T., & Fritze, D. (2021). 2021 The state of mental health in America. Mental Health America.

Utah Department of Health. (n.d.). Social and behavioral health during COVID-19. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Americans’ Mental, Social and Behavioral Health'. 16 November.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Americans’ Mental, Social and Behavioral Health." November 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/americans-mental-social-and-behavioral-health/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Americans’ Mental, Social and Behavioral Health." November 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/americans-mental-social-and-behavioral-health/.


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PsychologyWriting. "Americans’ Mental, Social and Behavioral Health." November 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/americans-mental-social-and-behavioral-health/.