Specialists see a rise in psychological well being issues throughout the pandemic | information
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – One in five adults in the United States suffers from some form of mental illness, but experts say the pandemic has certainly exacerbated mental health problems.
“Depression rates have tripled since the pandemic began, and this has had a trickle-down effect,” said Dr. Joseph Sharpe, Chief Medical Officer at Ascension St. Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital. “There has been a 20 percent increase in depression, a 30 percent increase in anxiety, and then you put that into the isolation that quarantined people feel and it makes the problem worse.”
Dr. Sharpe says an increase in depression and anxiety can lead to negative coping strategies like increased substance abuse and alcohol and tobacco use.
He says it’s a snowball effect that has also led to an increase in suicides.
Dr. Sharpe says while isolation occurred during the pandemic, it could be a warning sign as people begin to voluntarily spend time alone without stimulation.
He says when people just start to exist, not enjoying and not living things they have done before, this is another warning sign.
“I think the most important thing for people is that they are not alone. And I think when you throw suicidal depression at a pandemic, I think so often it feels like there’s no hope, no one out there, ”he said. “Well, I want to let you know that you are not alone. There are professionals who are ready and willing to help. “
Treatment comes in many different forms.
Sharpe points out that when the pandemic started it was difficult to see patients, but now the avenues are open to telepsychiatry or telemedicine.
“The studies suggest that the outcome measures for telepsychiatry are the same versus in person, so this is really exciting to hear,” he said. “And you can actually build a really good doctor-patient relationship, practically as opposed to a personal one.”
When you need someone to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7.
That number is 800-273-8255.
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