COVID-19 hasn’t just affected people’s physical health. The pandemic has also had a profound and prolonged impact on people’s mental health. Over the last year, more and more people have reached out for help dealing with stress, anxiety or depression.
Our team of analysts found that the number of people taking prescription mental health medication has steadily increased since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 65 million Americans are now taking prescription mental health medication — that’s 1 out of every 5 people. These numbers should not be stigmatized or taken lightly because they point to the serious impact COVID-19 is having on Americans’ mental health.
- Nationwide, 18 states have seen 10%-20% increases in the number of people taking prescription mental health medication in the last year.
- Colorado, West Virginia and Montana had the largest increases in people taking mental health medication.
- Kentucky, New Jersey and Nebraska saw the largest decreases in the number of people taking mental health medication.
- The number of men prescribed mental health medication increased by 11.3% over the last year.
- Nearly 65 million people (1 in 5) are currently taking prescription mental health medication.
Nationwide, the average number of people taking prescription mental health medication has gone up by nearly 6.5% in the last eight months. This increase, however, varies significantly from state to state.