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Many Americans face bleak winter as Covid takes toll on mental health

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Every winter, as the days get shorter, darker and colder, millions of Americans suffer debilitating psychological symptoms that can interfere with every aspect of life at home, work and school.

This winter, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of clinical depression affecting at least 5% of American adults, will strike after a summer of unprecedented losses and turmoil, and amid mounting fears of further health, economic and political chaos.

“SAD is a huge problem at the best of times, and this is not the best of times,” said Norman Rosenthal, the South African psychiatrist who first described SAD or winter depression in the 1980s. “I’ve been in the United States for 45 years, and these are among the toughest times I’ve seen.”

So far Covid has killed almost 190,000 Americans and left tens of millions of families struggling to get enough food as a result of unprecedented job losses that could take a decade to recover from.

The pandemic has upended every aspect of normal life for many people, resulting in politicized culture wars , armed vigilantes on the streets and a rise in mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

According to one study, failing to heal the nation’s economic and emotional […]

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