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South Florida Residents Experiencing “Coronavirus Anxiety” As Pandemic Lingers On

Our survey found South Florida residents are experiencing significant mental health impacts and rising rates of substance use related to COVID-19.

Survey: 78% of South Florida Residents Say COVID-19 Impacted Their Mental Health

There are currently over 584,000 cases of COVID-19 in Florida. South Florida has been hit particularly hard by the virus with over 255,000 cases across Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Additionally, COVID-19 has created additional pressure for many families through concerns about health, rising unemployment and social isolation. In fact, mental health professionals have already reported a surge in mental health symptoms as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

To better understand how the pandemic is impacting the local communities we serve, we recently surveyed 500 South Florida residents about their mental health symptoms and substance use over the past month.

The Recovery Village Survey Results

We surveyed 500 South Florida residents about their mental health and use of drugs and alcohol in the past month. Note: Some questions asked respondents to select each option that applied, so in a few instances, the total percentage will be greater than one hundred.

Substance Use in South Florida

The substances respondents most commonly used:

  • Alcohol (82%)
  • Marijuana (42%)
  • Prescription opioids (18%)
  • Cocaine (17%)
  • Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (16%)
  • Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall (15%)
Many respondents reported higher rates of drug and alcohol use.
  • 44% reported an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase
  • 48% of drug users reported an increase, with 20% reporting a significant increase

COVID-19 Impacts to Mental Health

The participants were also asked about their mental health over the past month:

  • 78% said COVID-19 has impacted their mental health, with 35% saying it was a significant impact
    • 75% reported feelings of anxiety
    • 69% reported depression or loneliness
    • 48% reported sleep issues
    • 45% reported anger
  • These symptoms were new for 60% of respondents
  • Over a third of respondents are currently considering therapy or treatment for these symptoms
  • 31% of respondents said coping with stress was the reason for their substance use; another 16% said they used a substance to treat mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression

Connecting South Floridians with the Help They Need

With 60% of survey respondents saying their mental health symptoms were new and, of those who had previously experienced symptoms, 54% saying their current symptoms were more severe than in the past, South Floridians are demonstrating an urgent need for mental health intervention.

When asked about therapy for their symptoms:

  • 23% are already receiving treatment
  • 34% are actively considering it
  • Another 12% of survey respondents said that treatment is not currently an option, highlighting the need for mental health resources.

Additionally, when asked if they should cut back on their current substance use:

  • 52% of respondents felt they should cut back on their current alcohol use
  • 60% of those who use drugs felt like they should cut back on their drug consumption

Getting help with managing mental health symptoms or support for stopping substance use are important ways to invest in your overall health and wellbeing. As a health care provider and behavioral health expert, we are dedicated to raising awareness about available treatment options and expanding access to treatment through our presence in local communities and by offering telehealth options for those who are unable or uncomfortable with traveling to a facility.

To help support South Florida residents facing addiction or mental health concerns, The Recovery Village operates drug and alcohol rehab centers in Lake Worth, Atlantis and Miami, in partnership with Baptist Health South Florida. We offer a full spectrum of care, including telehealth for ongoing outpatient treatment and teletherapy for substance use and mental health conditions. Contact us to learn more about a treatment program that can meet your unique needs.

For press inquiries, email [email protected]

Our Other COVID-Related Studies:

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