Coronavirus taking toll on mental health

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As more people are affected by COVID-19, the need for mental health services is at its highest.

A Collier County center said they’ve seen an increase in people dealing with substance abuse as well as mental health issues.

The David Lawrence Center said they’ve seen an increase in patients, many of them already suffering from substance abuse, depression and anxiety.

“We’re seeing a lot of increase in depression and anxiety, particularly in individuals who are already symptomatic,” said Angela Lopez, a licensed social worker at David Lawrence Center.

She said much of the uptick is sparked by self-isolation because of the coronavirus.

“We are social beings. That’s what we are as human beings. We love socializing and we tend to need that,” she said.

Not only has the pandemic shut down restaurants, beaches and other businesses, it has taken a huge toll on families, Lopez said.

“One of those areas being a loss of finances or instability at work and so financially, that hit for families has contributed to an increase in depression and anxiety.”

Because counselors at the center cannot meet patients in person, they have stepped up online services by providing virtual counseling and virtual medication appointments for clients.

“I think individuals are finding the benefits of telehealth and they’re being able to see the convenience that it brings, especially for folks who have already existing transportation barriers or an already busy lifestyle,” Lopez said.

The David Lawrence Center expects the need for mental health services to rise in the coming weeks and months, especially as financial concerns grow.

If you need help or want to donate, visit the David Lawrence Center website.

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