Mental health suffering for those still trying to get COVID-19 vaccine

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

The process of trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine is taking a toll, whether it’s from waiting in line on the phone or online.

The obstacles people are facing to make an appointment and being let down multiple times are affecting mental health.

“The longer we sit at the computer with the frustration, the anxiety, the worse it gets,” said Berny Aronson.

The first time Berny and his wife Phyllis tried – and failed –  to get an appointment, they laughed it off.

They aren’t laughing anymore.

Like so many others, they miss their family and they’re scared of the virus, stressed they’ll never get the vaccine.

Everything is increasing; cases per day, death rate per day…it’s horrible, it’s horrible,” Berny said.

After weeks of clicking, dialing, waiting, redialing and reclicking, the Aronsons are at their breaking point.

“I was on the verge of tears on Tuesday,” Phyllis said.

Tuesday, the same day Lee County commissioners said the state is working toward a unified statewide system to book appointments. Hours later, when Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop in Cape Coral, WINK News asked him about it.

“How do you ensure that that is a user-friendly system that doesn’t add to that stress and anxiety?”

“We don’t have enough vaccines to do seniors right away. It’s gonna take some time to get it in, so we’ve asked for patience,” DeSantis answered.

But patience is wearing thin. They want definite answers that no one is willing or able to give.

“There are all these unknowns that have come together, and that’s the reason why our anxiety is so elevated,” said Alise Bartley, Ph.D., who runs the counseling center at Florida Gulf Coast University.

She said she’s seeing a serious spike in anxiety and depression, but buried in the bad is some good news.

“The beauty of it being situational is it’s treatable,” she said. “This isn’t a chronic depression.”

But after weeks of frustration, it doesn’t feel situational.

“I’ll hold for as long … if I know that there’s gonna be a light at the end of the tunnel but the light’s not there,” Phyllis said.

Bartley said so many people are struggling with stress because they’re missing family and friends, the best stress reliever there is.

She suggests getting on Zoom or even considering seeing another person in-person – safely.

If the anxiety of the vaccine is causing you to lose sleep, not eat or have feelings of depression, she says you should call your doctor.

RESOURCE: WINK News is working by the minute on a daily basis to bring our coverage areas in Southwest Florida the latest COVID-19 vaccine information from the counties you live in.

Visit our COVID-19 vaccine schedules and information for SWFL story for rolling vaccine updates.

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