Dealing with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

HENDRICKS COUNTY – COVID-19 has impacted numerous individual’s lives globally, leaving many stressed with the complications that come along with a pandemic as severe as this. The fear of contracting the virus, the fear of losing loved ones, the potential to lose one’s job, the loss of social activities, and the many other potential negative changes, are situations that are conducive to causing immense anxiety and stress. During a pandemic as stressful as COVID-19, it is especially important to address the negative effects of the pandemic on mental health.

Disease outbreaks may lead to a significant increase in stress that often affects individuals differently. Those that may respond more strongly to stress during COVID-19 include older adults, those with chronic illness, essential workers, those who are helping in the response of COVID-19, and those with previous mental health conditions.

Gathering mental health data and statistics during this time is difficult, but it is predicted that the pandemic will result in significant increases in anxiety, depression, substance use, and even domestic abuse.

According to screening data from Mental Health America1, during February and the beginning of March, there was an approximate 19% increase in screening for clinical anxiety. These individuals represent just a fraction of those whose lives are being seriously impacted by the virus.

Mental Health America’s research also indicates that prior to the pandemic, approximately 18% of adults in the US had a mental illness. Additionally, an estimated 59.8 million US adults had anxiety disorder and depression, while 19 million had a substance abuse disorder.

According to the 2018 Hendricks County Health Assessment, Hendricks County residents report an average of 3.4 “mentally unhealthy” days per month.

From 2011 to 2015, 94 people died by suicide in Hendricks County. When looking at State Averages, Suicide is listed as the 2nd leading cause of death in people ages 15-34 in Indiana.

These already high numbers are likely to increase this year with the current stress on the world. These statistics highlight why it is important to focus on mental health awareness, services, and education now more than ever. The month of May is “Mental Health Awareness Month” in the US. Across the country, mental health providers, healthcare agencies, nonprofits, and student groups will be collaborating to increase awareness about mental health issues.

Education and social support are the best ways to help those that are suffering from mental illness.

Member agencies of the Hendricks County Mental Health & Wellness Coalition are hosting the following low-cost or free events where you and your family can learn more about Mental Health:

Community Mental Health Month Events, 2020

OrganizationEventDateLocation
    
The Willow Center  Green Ribbons for clients and supporters  All Month515 North Green Street Suite 402, Brownsburg, IN 46112
Care to ChangeWeekly Resource UpdatesMondaysCaretochange.org
    
Care to ChangeMental Health & Your BusinessMay 6thVirtual Zoom Event
Hamilton Center Inc.Sheriff ShootoutMay 8thFacebook.com/HamiltonCenterInc/
Indianapolis Power
& Lights
IPL is lighting up Green for Mental Health Awareness month.May 9th2102 N Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Care to ChangeMental Health & Your FamilyMay 13thVirtual Zoom Event
Care to ChangeThe Biology of StressMay 14thVirtual Zoom Event
The Willow CenterMindfulness MeditationMay 18thVirtual Zoom Event
    
Care to ChangeMental Health & Your ChurchMay 20thVirtual Zoom Event
Care to ChangeProtecting Your Child’s Mental HealthMay 21stVirtual Zoom Event
Care to ChangePhysical Health During a PandemicMay 26thVirtual Zoom Event
Care to ChangeMental Health During a PandemicMay 27thVirtual Zoom Event
Leadership IndianapolisPsychological First Aid: Helping Yourself & OthersMay 28thVirtual Zoom Event

For more information, please reach out to the Hendricks County Health Partnership at hendrickshealthpartnership.org or 317-745-9618,

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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