More Hoosiers in need of mental health help

Health

INDIANAPOLIS — Whether it’s COVID-19, the economy, or the recent nationwide unrest surrounding racism and police brutality, it’s becoming harder to take care of our mental health.

And now, mental health professionals say the number of Hoosiers in need of help are reaching staggering heights.

The advocacy group Mental Health America says it’s seen a big increase in anxiety and depression since the coronavirus pandemic began. In May, the group reported that almost four times more people used their online screening tools than did in January.

Mental health professionals in Indiana say the Hoosier state is experiencing something similar. Statewide there have been significant increases in 911 calls, domestic violence calls, suicide hotline calls, and mental health crisis calls.

“The suicide hotline in Marion County for example saw an increase of 138% as compared to the same time last year. So, it’s something we’re aware of and trying to find tools to combat,” Director of Indiana’s Division of Mental Health Jay Chaudhary said.

In April, the Indiana Family and Social Services administration launched “Be Well Indiana,” an online tool to give Hoosiers free access to mental health resources. In its first month, Chaudhary says the website logged over 30,000 visits.

“What that tells us I think is that there is a need for those curated resources,” he said.

At places like Counseling at the Greenhouse, mental health professionals say they’re seeing an increase of stress, anxiety and depression in their clients.

“More intense feeling are coming up with the folks that we’re seeing,” Tim Mallory said.

Mallory is a grad student intern at Counseling at the Greenhouse, he says in general, people struggle to handle uncertainty, which is something the past few months have been filled with.

 “Are my kids going to be at home for learning this coming fall, are they going to be at school? What does my job look like? Let alone, do I have a job?”

Both Mallory and Chaudhary say that during these times, it’s important that people know that if they’re feeling an increase in anxiety or depression; it’s completely normal.

They add the best thing someone can do is talk to someone, because it’s not healthy to keep those feelings to yourself.

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