JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy’s extended lockdown in New Jersey has now crossed the line from economic loss and it is quickly becoming a mental health crisis. This was evident in a recent interaction between Jackson Township Police and a man who lost his business due to the COVID-19 shutdown. On Friday, at around 6:23 pm, Jackson Police officers responded to a residence in the township on the report of a 43-year-old male who was reported to be intoxicated and depressed about the loss of business and other issues and had made threats to harm himself. The male was located and the officers were able to speak with him and transport him to an area hospital for treatment.
The problem is a growing issue across New Jersey and America. COVID-19 and the business shutdown associated with it has sparked a new national mental health emergency.
“Nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated in a survey by mental health provider Ginger that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire professional career, which has aligned with stark increases in new prescriptions of antidepressant, antianxiety, and anti-insomnia medications,” reports AMGEN, an employer information source.
According to a recent study, the greatest increase was in prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications, which rose 34.1% from mid-February to mid-March, including a week-over-week spike of nearly 18% during the week ending March 15. The number of prescriptions filled for antidepressants and sleep disorders increased 18.6% and 14.8%, respectively, from February 16 to March 15.
That research found the following to be true:
- More than three quarters (78%) of all antidepressant, antianxiety and anti-insomnia prescriptions filled during the week ending March 15th (the peak week) were for new prescriptions.
- The percent increase in the number of new prescriptions between the week of February 16 and week ending March 15 for the all three categories was 25.4%
- The percent increase in the number of new prescriptions between the week of February 16 and week ending March 15 for anti-anxiety medications was 37.7%