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Study Finds Increased Reports of Depression, Help is Available for Trauma Survivors

HARRISBURG—More adults are struggling with depression due to COVID-19, according to a study by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

For anyone that has survived trauma from sexual this is even more critical as COVID-19 and its related stressors can compound any past or present trauma. 

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) expresses to all Pennsylvanians who have experienced sexual violence:  you are not alone, a network of sexual assault centers throughout the Commonwealth are here to provide support. 

JAMA’s study shows depression symptoms have increased in adults in their study due to COVID-19.  It was also noted that those considered already at-risk such as households with less that $5,000 in savings and high exposure to stressors are particularly impacted by the pandemic.

COVID-19 can be considered a traumatic event in itself and the mitigation policies in place to prevent the spread unfortunately can create more stressors in daily life — unemployment, access to schools and child care, etc. — which easily contribute to feelings of depression.

The study found a significant increase among its participants with all those reporting depression symptoms prior to COVID-19 experiencing increased symptoms currently.  Just as important is a significant decreasein the number of individuals that reported no symptoms of depression, a drop from 75% reporting no depression pre-pandemic to now only 48% reporting no symptoms of depression during the pandemic.  This means that more individuals are sharing that they are now feel symptoms of depression somewhere on the spectrum during the pandemic.

“It is common for many to feel depressed or have longer periods of that feeling as depression.  Unfortunately, during these unexpected and uncertain times with COVID-19 that is increasing.  As this can be traumatic for survivors of violence we want everyone to know that help is available and that there are many experienced professionals in our sexual assault centers that can help you on the path to healing at any time,” Joyce Lukima, Chief Operating Officer at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR).

Any survivors of sexual violence feeling symptoms of depression or in need of help, free and confidential services are available to you 24 hours a day in every county.

Call on experienced and caring professionals in your community to help:

  • Contact a sexual violence center by calling 1-888-772-7227. There is also information on services available at the county levelduring the pandemic.
  • Contact a domestic violence program by calling 1−800−799−7233.  
  • Victims of domestic violence and other crimes who are not currently in crisis, but are seeking civil legal information and referrals can contact or 1-833-727-2335.