(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) “COVID’s been extremely negative for mental health. They did declare a national mental health emergency,” said Dr. James Jura, Medical Director and Psychiatrist for The Center.
The pandemic has brought on challenges from all aspects of day-to-day life. Mental health is one of the biggest issues across the country, and right here at home.
“Statistics all back it up, it’s been really very bad for mental health. Almost none of it has been a direct cause of Covid, societal changes, and the fear of the disease as opposed to a physiologic response to getting Covid,” said Jura.
Isolation, fear, and changes in day-to-day life have been felt by many, especially the younger population.
“Healthy 16, 18-year-olds that are terrified that they’re going to kill people. And that really leads to severe anxiety, and then they isolate themselves which leads to depression. I think that’s probably been most of it,” said Jura.
This has put a strain on the already existing shortage of mental health resources nationwide.
“There was a shortage of prescribers and then therapists pre-existing Covid and Covid has exacerbated that the wait-lists are super long,” said Jura.
Also drawing attention to drug overdoses, which have increased since the start of the pandemic.
“Conglomerating the data from various sources, it appears that more people, significantly more people are dying from drug overdoses than from Covid, in young people. So 45 and below,” said Jura.
There are a few solutions that psychologists recommend to combat these challenges, one of which is virtual interactions.
“It caused a big switch or push to telemedicine over the phone or through Zoom or things like that. Which is not quite as good as in person. It's still worthwhile and people should pursue that treatment if that’s what’s available,” said Jura.
The CDC also recommends taking breaks from your phone, computer, and TVs, as well as prioritizing taking care of your body, connecting with others, whether that be virtually or in person, with safe distancing measures in place.