Survey Shows Pandemic Hits Local Wallets and Mental Health

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A survey of Larimer County residents conducted by the Health District of Northern Larimer County in the late summer of last year shows that over half of non-retired residents saw a drop in household income last year, with more than a third of all adults experiencing pandemic-related emotional issues.

More than half or about 54 percent of non-retired adults surveyed reported a decrease in their household income in 2020 compared to 2019. The percentage of respondents who were unemployed or laid off more than quadrupled from 2 percent to 9 percent.

Those members of the community who had health insurance through an employer or who purchased insurance on their own declined from 71 percent in 2019 to 68 percent in 2020. One in ten adults experienced some change in their health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with one-third of those having lost their insurance.

There was also a reported significant increase from respondents in the number of “poor mental health days” experienced compared to the prior year with an increase in the number of days in which poor mental health had prevented them from doing usual activities. A total of 36 percent additionally reported that they had experienced pandemic-related anxiety, depression, or stress at least half of the time in the preceding month.

Thirty percent of those who consumed alcohol reported that they have been drinking more than they did before the pandemic started. They were more likely to be between 35 and 44, drinking one additional drink per week on average.

90 percent of respondents were practicing COVID-prevention strategies often or always washing hands after returning home from a public place, with 88 percent always or often wearing masks when around people not in their household. 89 percent of respondents reported that they practiced 6-foot distancing when not in their home, with 86 percent reducing time in non-essential public places, including bars, restaurants, and libraries.

The findings were part of a special follow-up survey to the Health District’s routine triennial Community Health Survey conducted in the fall of 2019. The Health District contacted nearly 2,500 households last July and August that participated in the fall 2019 survey with responses received from 1,239 people identified as having responded to the earlier survey, which allowed for a direct comparison.

93 percent of respondents were slightly concerned about COVID-19, with 39 percent being extremely or very much worried. Nearly all said their lives had changed slightly due to the pandemic.

“So many of us have experienced changes and challenges in our personal lives, it’s important that, as a community, we have a precise understanding of how this pandemic is impacting all of us, particularly those who may need extra help,” said Suman Mathur, a data evaluation specialist with the Health District. “This survey helps us identify areas where organizations like ours can step in and provide some much-needed extra support right now,” Suman said.


For more information regarding The Health District of Northern Larimer County, including more information on the 2020 COVID-19 Supplement to the 2019 Community Health Survey, visit: healthdistrict.org

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