'Good Morning America' anchor Dan Harris calls the pandemic 'a dumpster fire' for mental health

Good Morning America anchor Dan Harris pulled no punches discussing his mental health while dealing with the pandemic.

"Like everybody else, my mental health has really been challenged over the last 14, 15 months," Harris says. "I don't think we need to sugarcoat it, I think we could just clearly call it what it is, which is a dumpster fire, from the pandemic to the political polarization to the reckoning around race that we have appropriately been having over the last 14 months, it's all been extremely difficult."

The Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist and author of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works A True Story, went on to explain the impact that lockdowns have had on our collective mental health.

"We've just run a global unregulated experiment on what happens to people when you take away social connection," he explains. "And what do we see? A spike in anxiety, depression, suicide and addiction."

Dr. Nina Vasan, founder and executive director of Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation agrees.

"When we look at the pandemic, we saw about double the rates of depression, anxiety, substance use across the board. But specifically in minority communities, we saw these rates triple, if not even quadruple," she explains.

Still, Harris is hopeful for a silver lining.

"There are things we can do to take care of our own minds, to take responsibility for our own minds, including meditation, therapy, exercise, getting enough sleep, having access to nature," he says. "I hope we do learn something from this pandemic, it’s that perhaps the most important variable in your mental health is the quality of your relationship. And that deserves some attention."

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