As a patient with long COVID, I am familiar with the symptoms of brain fog, migraines, and vertigo. And I am not alone. More research is being published about the long-term cognitive and mental health components of long COVID.

Prior to 2020, mental health disorders were among the leading causes of the global health-related burden, with depressive and anxiety disorders being the most disabling of these conditions. Since the start of the pandemic, rates of anxiety and depression among US adults were 4 times higher between April 2020 and August 2021 than in 2019.

To explore the mental health effects of COVID-19, Clinical Advisor invited a team of nurse practitioners to write a series of articles. The first in the series appeared in the July/August 2022 issue and explored the rise in anxiety disorders among adults and children. In this issue, the authors focus on depression and COVID-19 and describe how to identify and treat this condition in a primary care setting.

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Although depression may be the natural result of isolation and increased stress faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, recent research also suggests that depression is one of the many symptoms of long COVID. As reported in this issue, depression was reported in 23% of 8591 people 1 year after their COVID-19 diagnosis.

Nurse practitioners and PAs can play an important role in screening for anxiety and depression and educating patients regarding the signs and symptoms of these conditions. September is Suicide Awareness Month and clinicians are reminded to focus on mental health, shift public perception of depression, and spread hope. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

If you don’t ask the questions, you can’t help your patients.

Nikki Kean, Director

The Clinical Advisor