The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on mental health patient populations in the United States.

Publication date: Mar 07, 2024

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, lockdowns and movement restrictions were thought to negatively impact population mental health, since depression and anxiety symptoms were frequently reported. This study investigates the effect of COVID-19 mitigation measures on mental health across the United States, at county and state levels using difference-in-differences analysis. It examines the effect on mental health facility usage and the prevalence of mental illnesses, drawing on large-scale medical claims data for mental health patients joined with publicly available state- and county-specific COVID-19 cases and lockdown information. For consistency, the main focus is on two types of social distancing policies, stay-at-home and school closure orders. Results show that lockdown has significantly and causally increased the usage of mental health facilities in regions with lockdowns in comparison to regions without such lockdowns. Particularly, resource usage increased by 18% in regions with a lockdown compared to 1% decline in regions without a lockdown. Also, female populations have been exposed to a larger lockdown effect on their mental health. Diagnosis of panic disorders and reaction to severe stress significantly increased by the lockdown. Mental health was more sensitive to lockdowns than to the presence of the pandemic itself. The effects of the lockdown increased over an extended time to the end of December 2020.

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Concepts Keywords
Covid County
Increased Covid
Lockdowns Health
Pandemic Increased


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO population
disease IDO facility
disease MESH mental illnesses
disease MESH panic disorders
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease IDO intervention
disease MESH mental deterioration
disease MESH causality
disease VO USA
disease MESH viral diseases
disease IDO country
disease MESH emergency
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
disease MESH anxiety disorders
disease MESH major depressive disorder
disease MESH bipolar disorder
disease MESH complications
disease VO monthly
disease MESH Insomnia
drug DRUGBANK Aspartame
drug DRUGBANK Proline
disease MESH attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
disease VO volume
disease MESH burnout
disease IDO process
disease MESH pneumonia
disease MESH infections
disease MESH Substance Use
disease MESH Suicidal Ideation
disease MESH Morbidity
disease MESH Lifestyle
disease MESH psychological distress
disease MESH Noncommunicable Diseases
disease IDO host
drug DRUGBANK Minaprine
drug DRUGBANK Isosorbide Mononitrate
drug DRUGBANK Dimethyl sulfone
pathway REACTOME Reproduction

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