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1. War abroad
When Russia tried to invade Ukraine at the beginning of this year, many people thought it would be over quickly. Instead, the Ukrainian people fought back with vigor and are still working to push Russian forces from their lands. Though this war is a world away for us in America, threats from Russia’s autocrat, Vladimir Putin, have had people on edge about the war spreading and, even worse, going nuclear.
2. Money troubles
The war in Ukraine helped kick off an economic recession that has really hurt Americans financially. Staples of every day life, including gas, housing, and food prices, skyrocketed throughout the year. Millions more Americans than ever are living paycheck to paycheck. This has led to rising “financial anxiety.” The struggle to pay bills impacts the mental health of roughly 2 out of 3 Americans.
3. Violence at home
Throughout 2022, Americans continued to witness horrific mass shootings around our country. The two that stick out most in our memories, Buffalo and Uvalde, occurred within 10 days of each other. In Buffalo, where the shooter was motivated by racism and white supremacy, all the victims were black. At Uvalde, we saw innocent children gunned down in the third worst school shooting in history. The police’s sickening failure to respond shocked Americans and piled on the growing distrust of institutional justice in our country.
4. The kids aren’t alright
This year opened with the U.S. Surgeon General issuing a dire warning about children’s mental health. Suicide rates are still rising. It is the second most common cause of death in children and teens. The number one killer is gun violence. In addition to violence, anxiety about climate change, financial struggles, and general distrust in American institutions weighed heavily on the minds of our youth this year.
5. The war on women’s rights
2022 saw the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the abortion protections of the landmark case, Roe v. Wade. This event signaled the end of the federal guarantee of women’s right to privacy with respect to their abortion decisions. This attack on women’s freedom of choice is also an attack on their mental health. Depression and anxiety commonly strike women who are denied abortions, especially women who are poor, minorities, or living in medically under-served areas.
6. Psyched For Mental Health, the WebShrink podcast
In 2022 we launched Psyched For Mental Health, the official WebShrink podcast. The host is Dr. Ed Bilotti, the founder of WebShrink and board-certified psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist. In each episode, Dr. Bilotti talks with an expert in a field about topics impacting our mental health. He also hears stories from people about their own mental health struggles and successes. Each episode has a companion or related article and a transcript available as well. Podcast episodes are available on Podbean, iTunes, and Spotify.