TAMPA, Fla. — Taking care of your mental health during the pandemic is important.
Cases of anxiety and depression are on the rise across the United States, and here in the Tampa Bay area, we are not immune.
"Everyone's affected by COVID in some way, shape or form, regardless if you've had it, or if you know somebody who's had it. The effects of it have impacted people. Of course, that's going to affect their mental health," said Dr. Ryan Wagoner, the vice-chair for clinical services and a psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the University of South Florida.
The impact on mental health is being seen across all ages and races. Some of the cases are being found because patients come in for other medical concerns.
"We're seeing both more anxiety as well as depressive symptoms. But again, there's not that corresponding extra outreach, there's not that extra desire or, or looking for treatment. And that's a little concerning," said Dr. Wagoner.
"We're seeing it in ways of, you know, screening folks, particularly at their primary care physicians offices, as well as seeing other physicians where it for example, in the past, about 10% of people would endorse having some sort of anxiety or depressive symptom. And that's we're looking back in 2019. More recently, though, we're seeing people report anxiety and depressive symptoms at a rate of 40 percent."
The nonprofit Mental Health America ranked each state in the U.S. based on the number of mental illness diagnoses among adults and access to healthcare. On those standards, Florida ranks 24th in the country. MHA says more than 47 million Americans are living with a mental illness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says less than four percent of those people actually seek treatment.
Many doctors recommend talking with friends, family or even a therapist to work through how you're feeling. Make sure you're getting the right balance of exercise and sleep, along with a proper diet. Taking care of your body is one of the easiest ways to take care of your mind.
The organization Resources to Recover has put together this list of professional resources to get more help:
- Florida Department of Children and Families–Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program (SAMH)
- Florida Medicaid
- National Alliance on Mental Illness–Florida – The nationwide advocacy group represents families and people affected by mental health disorders in the U.S.
- 2-1-1 is a free referral and information helpline that connects people to a wide range of health services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The group has also put together a page of information specifically for those who are struggling with their mental health because of coronavirus.
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