Two-thirds of survey respondents who identified as unpaid caregivers said they experienced mental health challenges during the pandemic, such as symptoms of anxiety or depression, or suicidal thoughts.
Only one-third of people with no caregiving responsibilities reported the same symptoms.
Of the more than 10,000 survey respondents, more than 40% identified as being unpaid caregivers.
“What is striking here is just how widespread unpaid caregiving responsibilities are in the population and how much of a burden and a toll these responsibilities” are having, says Shantha Rajaratnam, a co-author of the study and a psychologist at the Turner Institute of Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Australia.
The study also found that people who care for both children under 18 and adults — many of them part of the sandwich generation — are faring the worst, with 85% of this group experiencing adverse mental health symptoms.
When her sister died three years ago, Ms. Ingersoll joined the ranks of older Americans considered “kinless”: without partners or spouses, children...