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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #COVID Cases Boost #MentalHealthIssues

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DEANNE JOHNSON

Staff Writer
djohnson@mojonews.com

LISBON — #COVID-19 case numbers are not the only numbers on the rise right now. There has been an increase in the numbers of those asking for help with #mentalhealthissues and police dealing with suicidal individuals as well as domestic situations throughout the county.

Marcy Patton, director of the Columbiana County #MentalHealth and Recovery Center, said in general she would say there is an increase in the number of people having #anxiety due to the virus and the way it has affected our lives.

“We’re all in this together,” Patton said, “but unfortunately we all experience it in a different way.”

Worries can include #healthissues about the disease, finances due to job loss or reduced retirement funds, additional roles people are taking on such as helping their children with home education while also working from home. We are unable to physically connect with some loved ones. There is a general sadness due to the loss of plans, such as graduations or family trips.

Additionally, while there is a lot of information available about what is happening, Patton said some people are suffering from overload. From commercials to #socialmedia to press conferences, people can become overwhelmed by the daily updates.

Patton said in addition to all those worries, the situation is compounded by the inability to know a date when life will get back to normal. All of this can all manifest itself in #depression, anger and frustration.

Those who already have problems with #depression and substance abuse may be really struggling and unable to get the support they are accustomed to having, such as support groups that can not currently meet in person. According to Patton, the behavioral agencies have implemented telehealth to make psychologists available. Detox units are still available and people are still able to get the injections of needed medications.

She encourages anyone feeling overwhelmed by the situation to remember their feelings are normal, but they can reach out for help by contacting the Help Network of Northeast Ohio or by calling 211, which can refer them to resources they may need. Another number is the line to #mentalhealth and recovery, 330-424-0195. There is an Ohio #COVID-19 care line which can be accessed by calling 800-720-9616 with state level licensed professionals available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. After hours the number forwards to the #NationalSuicidePreventionHotline. Finally, for those who prefer to text, Patton said there is a crisis text line that can be reached at 4-HOPE-741-741.

Additionally, Patton said she is recommending people utilize a START strategy, an acronym she came up with help everyone deal better with their feelings during the #pandemic. The S stands for self-care, which involves eating, sleeping, exercising and avoiding excess alcohol or drugs. The T is for tasks, in which she suggests doing your hobbies or activities you enjoy if possible or accomplishing a goal from around the house like cleaning out the garage. The A is for assist, which means helping others by running an errand or just reaching out to someone who is alone by phone, note, email. The R stands for routine, making certain there is a schedule at the home especially for work, schoolwork and enjoyment. The second T is for talk, when you feel down talk to someone – family, friends, faith-based support or professionals.

djohnson@mojonews.com

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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