People with behavioral health disorders may be particularly vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet little is known about how they are faring . A mixed-methods, anonymous needs assessment was conducted to understand changes in the lives of adults with mental health and substance use disorders since the pandemic onset . A cross-sectional, online survey was completed by 272 adults in April and May 2020, recruited from statewide networks of community programs in New Jersey and New York . Measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2 to screen for depressive and anxiety disorders . Also assessed was the pandemic's impact on sleep and dietary patterns, exposure to COVID-19 infection, and access to health care and medications . Finally, respondents were asked to describe in their own words any changes in their lives since the pandemic began . Over one-third (35.1 %) screened positive for generalized anxiety disorder and over one-quarter (29.6 %) screened positive for major depressive disorder . The majority reported pandemic-related changes in eating and sleeping patterns and exposure to COVID-19 infection . Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that many changes attributed to the pandemic were positively and significantly associated with screening positive for anxiety and depressive disorders . Qualitative analysis confirmed these findings and identified participants' resilience stemming from social support, emotion management, and self-care . These results can inform the design of services that assist this population to bolster self-management skills and reestablish daily habits to improve their lives during and following the pandemic.
Index: Behavioral health, COVID-19 pandemic, Mental health