Coronavirus: How Is America Feeling? Part 8

The third wave of the mental health impacts of coronavirus is rising: job loss and grief.

Wave 1 was about anxiety about the virus itself–people still feeling that but lessening slightly.
Wave 2 is about issues associated with quarantine (as texters say, “stuck at home”) with increases in domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression, etc…and appears to be plateauing.
We’re now seeing Wave 3: the after-effects or “scars” of COVID, including job loss and grief.

1. Job Loss.

At the start of the coronavirus quarantines in mid-March words associated with job loss (job, lost, income) appeared in 18% of conversations. Last week: 27%. And now, above 30%.

graph of conversations relating to job loss and income showing an upward trend from 20% to 30% over the last month

 

We’re a safety net for people experiencing financial stress as 62% of texters now say they or someone in their household has either been laid off or lost a job.

2. Grief. We’re seeing a lot more texters experiencing grief—and they over-index poor, Black, and/or Native American.

Texters mentioning they’ve experienced the recent loss of a loved one continues to increase, from 9% in mid-April to almost 14%.

In the last week, what demographics are disproportionately experiencing the recent loss of a loved one?

  • Texters from households below the poverty line (< $20,000 annual): 21%
  • Texters who identify as Black or African American: 21%
  • People who identify as American Indian / Alaska Native: 25% (WHAT?!)

3. Texters who identify as Asian American are feeling intense bullying…and show amazing resilience.

31% of texters identify as Asian said they were feeling harassed or bullied, up from 26% the week before. (This jumps to 35% in rural areas compared to 20% in urban areas.)

On a positive note, texters who identify as Asian American are turning to these amazing coping skills significantly more than other texters:

  • Helping friends and family (e.g., picking up groceries, cleaning, watching kids, etc): 41% (vs. 36% for all texters)
  • Feeling grateful: 38% (vs. 30% for all texters)
  • Being kind or patient with yourself: 40% (vs. 32% for all texters)
  • Volunteering: 12% (vs. 7% for all texters)

4. People continue to reconnect with friends

Hooray for turning to old friends and family–it continues and grows with almost 37% of texters responding that they’ve reconnected.

5. Comparing feeling words in top 5 cities…What are the distinct words outperforming in America’s top 5 cities?

New York City: virus, covid, quarantine, fear, and news
Los Angeles: grocery, uncertainty, and symptom
Chicago: isolation, confident, and grateful
Houston: quarantine
Phoenix: closed, kindness, and supporting

 

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