Struggles with mental health could get worse as winter looms

Struggles with mental health could get worse as winter looms

And in the warm days that followed, Massachusetts embraced the credo of one of the state’s most ardent nature lovers, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.” But any semblance of normalcy achieved through socializing and recreating outdoors will become increasingly elusive as daylight wanes and temperatures dip. By the first day of summer in Massachusetts, daily cases of COVID-19 across the state were dwindling. Restaurants ordered picnic tables and string lights in bulk. Drive-in theaters, once a novelty of yesteryear, were cool again. Coastal towns prepped for an onslaught of pasty beachgoers. “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last week. The change in seasons has many mental health experts worried that an already tenuous landscape will worsen. Six months of turmoil and uncertainty have left two out of five Americans with feelings of depression or anxiety, according to a recent CDC study. In Massachusetts, the worst of the pandemic may be behind us for now, but the trauma caused by the virus, social unrest, and economic recession still lingers. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts reported that use of mental health services was up 14 percent from January to July of this year compared to the same period of 2019. A recently published study by a group of researchers from Boston, Providence, and New York City ...
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