By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 9, 2022
A new study covered by The New York Times found that, in the year after contracting COVID-19, people were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders they hadn’t had previously than people who didn’t get infected, highlighting the need for mental health parity for all consumers.
The study analyzed the records of over 150,000 COVID-19 patients in the Veterans Health Administration system who had no recent mental health diagnoses or treatment and compared their experience in the year after they recovered from their initial infection with that of a similar group of people who did not contract the virus.
People who had COVID-19 were 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression and 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety over the months following infection than people without COVID-19 during the same period. COVID-19 patients were 38 percent more likely to be diagnosed with stress and adjustment disorders and 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed with sleep disorders than uninfected people.
The study found that patients hospitalized for COVID were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health issues than those with less serious coronavirus infections, and even people with mild initial infections were still at greater risk than people without COVID-19.
Last month, CQC wrote a letter to the Biden Administration calling on the President to “include mental health and Americans’ ability to access treatment as a focal point of this year’s State of the Union address and as a major initiative of his administration’s efforts in the coming year.”
In his State of the Union address, President Biden announced a new strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis, including more funding to build up the mental health workforce and new ways of connecting people with the care they need. CQC urges lawmakers to continue to shine a light on the mental health crisis and enact legislation to ensure all patients can access the mental health care they need and deserve.