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Experts worried about COVID-19's lasting impact on mental health

Experts worried about COVID-19's lasting impact on mental health
Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 17:57:29-04

Mental health experts are concerned about the lasting impact of the new coronavirus.

“We have to make sure not to just prioritize the health of the country and the financial well-being of our businesses, but we have to keep our eye on the ball for mental health,” said Dr. Jared Skillings, a psychologist the American Psychological Association.

A new poll says about half of adults feel the pandemic is impacting their mental health. Almost one in five say it's had a major impact.

The national hotline for those feeling emotional distress has nearly nine times more calls than this time last year.

The number for the disaster distress helpline is 1-800-985-5990. You can also text “talk with us” to 66746 to speak with a crisis counselor.

Dr. Skillings says isolation, financial stress and anxiety are fueling problems.

“I think we're going to see both new cases of people never had having a mental health issue where that comes up for them now and I think we're going to see a resurgence of people who had a mental health issues come back because it’s going to bring a lot of things to the surface that are difficult,” said Dr. Skillings.

The country is already dealing with a provider shortage.

The American Psychological Association is trying to have restrictions loosened, so professionals can practice across state lines. It also wants insurance to cover telehealth and phone call care for vulnerable groups.

Dr. Skillings says staying active, eating right and getting proper rest can help mental health.

“But while we are in the middle of this, what can you change, how can you lean into something you haven't done before?” asked Dr. Skillings.

Research says telehealth is just as effective as in-person therapy.