IRVINE, Calif. — While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration continue to work on a new coronavirus relief plan, a study by MDVIP – a national network of physicians – indicates Americans are suffering financially, physically, and mentally.

What You Need To Know

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration continue working on a coronavirus relief plan

  • MDVIP/Ipsos poll shows 2 out of 3 people report feeling depression and anxiety amid the pandemic

  • The poll also revealed how more Americans are more worried about cognitive decline

  • Irvine Democrat Katie Porter, D-45, said she’s working to pass two bipartisan bills related to mental health

The study initially set out to learn about brain health, but when the pandemic hit, it ended up making more discoveries.

Dr. Andrea Klemes, the chief medical officer of MDVIP, said their latest study shows how the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health.

According to Klemes, their poll with Ipsos indicates 2 out of 3 people reported feeling depression and anxiety. Two out of 5 people experienced forgetfulness amid the pandemic.

“I think across the country, the social isolation is getting to everybody,” Klemes said. “The feelings of depression and anxiety – it was really across the board that many were struggling.”

The poll also revealed how more Americans are more worried about cognitive decline. In the western region, including California, people are more likely to say they are worried about developing Alzheimer's.

“Personally, I have an 86 year old mother who lives in New York. The results struck me because when she called and told me she was playing again, I was mortified. She said, ‘But we’re playing outside. We are wearing masks. We do not serve food anymore. We wash our hands before we start and we’re sanitizing between hands.’ I had to weigh my fear of her getting COVID with my fear of her really having emotional issues from social isolation. She lives alone,” Klemes said.

Congresswoman Katie Porter, D-45, said she is working to pass two bipartisan bills. One bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to states to address behavioral health needs caused by COVID-19. The other bill would improve insurers’ compliance with mental health parity laws.

“This is such an important issue, and to be clear when they passed the Affordable Care Act they established the law that mental health should be treated the same as other health conditions. We call that concept ‘parity.’ Ten years after the Affordable Care Act was passed, we’re seeing that insurers are not delivering on this,” Porter said. “My legislation is called Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act, and it would provide more funding to community and health care providers but we need to take that action of additional funding side by side.” 

Klemes said if anything, she just hopes the federal government can help bring more attention to mental health.

“Have positive people around them. Try and prioritize time for themselves,” Klemes said.

Klemes also said their study found Californians are more likely to pursue a healthy brain with exercise and a healthier diet than the rest of the nation.

According to Klemes, the study also showed people on the West Coast were less likely to seek mental health help from a doctor than the rest of the nation. She urged anyone suffering mentally to not hesitate to seek help from a professional.

As for Congresswoman Porter’s bills, they have been introduced in the House but have yet to move forward.

Both have bipartisan support.