Depression and the COVID-19 Crisis

For so many of us, the world has changed a lot since the beginning of March. In some ways, we have found some down time, time to try a new recipe, clean a closet, try a new workout, or take some online classes. For others, this time has been marked by less connection with people, places and things that bring good things to our lives, worries about employment and finances, various forms of isolation, and deeply disturbing (not here to debate the need for societal change) images seared on our brains. There are many other stressors, and I invite you to acknowledge yours and read on to see how these events may be impacting you emotionally and physically. 

As a mental health professional, I have my concerns that our community is not having good conversations and education around depression. According to the CDC, the nationwide rate of depression has increased from 6-8% to somewhere in the range of 30%. Based on what I have seen in my practice and online consultation with other mental health professionals in our area, that seems reasonable. And a lot. As the days and weeks have turned to months, the seasons are changing to shorter days, a contentious election cycle and the year-end pressures have been added to the concerns of Covid, we are in a perfect storm for people to become increasingly plagued by worry and stress that lead to depression. 
What’s the difference between being sad/frustrated/angry at current events and actually having depression? In a simple statement, it’s what happens to our emotions and physical state as we work to process circumstances. It is measured in 2-4 week periods. 

Over the past 2-4 weeks are you finding that you are crying more? Angry more? Have more trouble sleeping than usual? Can’t move past negative thoughts about yourself or others? You don’t have the motivation you usually have? Can’t seem to get things done that would usually be easier? Your weight or appetite have changed? Having trouble concentrating? Are those who are close to you noticing changes in you? These may be signs that you should check in with your doctor.

For many of our neighbors, this is a time that families have been able to reconnect. For some families, there is a situation in the home where someone is not doing well due to addiction, abuse, or threat of harming themselves or others. If you are reading this and that is you or someone you know, Please check my website for helpful resources and an online assessment tool. You are not alone. There is help and it’s essential that you reach out. 

Think you or someone close to you might be depressed? Here’s a helpful screening tool:


Contact numbers for emergency support:
Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Hotline – 1-855-278-4204
Mental Health Call Center – 1-800-704-0900 (on-call)
Text RENEW to 741741 if someone is in imminent danger

Non-emergency support: National Alliance for Mental Illness
Warmline staff are working remotely to support you during this time.
You can CALL or EMAIL us Mon – Fri 10 AM to 6 PM.
Warmline Help Desk Telephone: 1-408-453-0400, option 1   
(Press #1 at any time during recorded message to reach the Warmline)
*Note: call 408-453-0400 option 4 for Warmline after hours call back support