According to a recent survey by Mental Health America, both adults and adolescents suffered significant and worsening mental health problems during the pandemic.
The number of people seeking help with anxiety, depression, or thoughts of suicide has increased.
Although vaccination efforts put the end of the pandemic in sight, a local hotline says people in West Virginia are still feeling desperate. HELP304, the emotional powerhouse of West Virginia, provides everyone in the state with instant access to crisis advisors. The program was adopted at the start of the pandemic in response to COVID-related stress.
Program Director Steven Perry says that despite progress in ending the pandemic, calls to the hotline have continued to rise, reaching an all-time high in March.
“The main problem we hear from callers is insulation fatigue and stress from a lack of stimulation. People have been cut off from their normal social groups and activities for some time, resulting in decreased motivation, excessive worry and paranoia for some, and added strain on the relationship, “he said in a press release. “We get more calls from those dealing with heightened anxiety, even when they are on the verge of panic. Months of instability and uncertainty as to when this will all end has really taken an emotional toll and left many callers feeling hopeless. “
Perry said that even if the restrictions lift and the virus fades, the pandemic experience will leave a lasting traumatic impression on many.
“People have lost loved ones, lost jobs, and lived in a state of concern for basic survival, including fear of getting sick or of being unable to support their families. The effects of this pandemic could last for years, ”he said.
HELP304 is supported by Federal Emergency Management Assistance and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and operated by First Choice Services. The line provides 24/7 support that you can access by calling 1-877-HELP-304 or chatting online at HELP304.com. Online stress management groups are also available. All services are free and confidential.