The pandemic has taken a massive toll on people’s mental health. But a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms what many of us are seeing and feeling in our own lives: The impact has been particularly devastating for parents and unpaid caregivers of adults.
Two-thirds of survey respondents who identified as unpaid caregivers said they experienced mental health challenges during the pandemic, such as symptoms of anxiety or depression, or suicidal thoughts.
Only one-third of people with no caregiving responsibilities reported the same symptoms.
Of the more than 10,000 survey respondents, more than 40% identified as being unpaid caregivers.
“What is striking here is just how widespread unpaid caregiving responsibilities are in the population and how much of a burden and a toll these responsibilities” are having, says Shantha Rajaratnam, a co-author of the study and a psychologist at the Turner Institute of Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Australia.