Psychologist Keisha Bean

By Katelynn White

The coronavirus has created challenges for many people. 

Americans have lost their jobs. Many children have missed meals because schools are closed. Essential workers have risked their lives. Parents were forced to create in-home daycare for their children. And incomes have decreased. 

These challenges can cause stress and strong emotions in adults and children. As a result, many Americans are struggling with their mental health.

The US Census Bureau recently reported more than 40 percent of Americans have reported symptoms of feeling isolated, stress, anxiety and depression while living during a nationwide lockdown.

Mental Health America President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo said, “the mental health crisis has been like a second wave to COVID-19 pandemic.” 

During a Tennessee Tribune webinar about anxiety and depression on May 27, psychologist Keisha Bean discussed why mental health issues are surfacing now more than ever. Mental health is as essential as physical health, she said.

She discussed how the pandemic replaced things people used as coping mechanisms with anxiety and added stress.  “A lot of things that we leaned on to cope or to help us through was all of a sudden taken away.” 

She said the biggest trigger leading to depression during the pandemic is “people losing loved ones they didn’t get to see.” 

The pandemic drastically altered how people grieve the loss of a loved one, Bean said. Dealing with the death of a loved one was extremely saddening pre-pandemic. Losing someone during the pandemic, whether to the virus or other causes has caused family members additional stress. 

Friends and family members have suffered from anxiety and depression after failing to attend funerals of loved ones they were not able to see due to travel and quarantine restrictions. 

In the United States, over 591,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Bean said a person should seek help, “if something is impacting your inability to function and you have if tried other things with little success or little change then you should increase or elevate your intervention.”