Many people wonder when this crisis will end.
Frederick, Md (KM) The COVID-19 pandemic has turned everyone’s lives upside down, and has caused some mental health issues. “I think the biggest one we’ve been seeing is an increase in anxiety,” says Shannon Aleshire, the Chief Executive Officer for the Mental Health Association of Frederick County.
She says it isn’t just people who are worried about contracting the coronavirus. “People do have fear that they’re going to catch the virus. Many people have had major changes in the way that they work or learn. So that also impacts it as well,” Aleshire says.
Part of the concern among some people is a feeling of grief. “People tend to think about grief as something really big when a loved-one dies or something like that,” she says. “You can grieve the loss of your regular routine.. You can grieve the loss of a job, or any of your school friends. So all of us are dealing with that on some level or another.”
With most people being told to keep a six-feet or more distance from family and friends and staying home most of the time, , Aleshire says this means a loss of intimacy with family members and friends. “One thing that comforts most of us is being close to other human beings, being touched by other human beings,” she says. “We’re learning new ways of doing greetings that don’t involve a handshake or a hug, but humans do crave that.”
There is also the question of when this pandemic will end, and health officials say it could last into 2021. When facing other disasters, Aleshire says there is the hope that they will end very soon. “Even if it’s just a hurricane or a blizzard, you know that the end is near,” Aleshire says. “With this pandemic, we don’t when the end is. It got better, and now our numbers are trending upward. Not having an end date is hard for people.”
When the pandemic began earlier this year, Aleshire says calls were on the increase at the hotline. “We saw a huge increase right in the beginning of this,” she says. “Things have leveled off but we’re still sustaining about a 13% increase over this period last year. And in addition, the number of suicide calls has gone up as well.”
Aleshire says if you are feeling depressed, reach out and ask for help. The Mental Health Association holds walk-in Behavioral Health Crisis services at its office at 226 South Jefferson Street in Frederick. The hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM, and 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM on weekends. No appointments are necessary.
These services are also available on line at www.fcmha.org.
You can always call the hotline at 211 or 1-866-411-6803.
By Kevin McManus