TAMPA —As research sheds more light on the role #COVID-19 plays in #mentalhealthissues, Tampa Bay #mentalhealthprofessionals say they continue to see the impact of the #pandemic and the #virus itself on #patients.
What You Need To Know
USF psychiatry chair says the more severe the #COVID case, the more serious #mentalhealthissues can be
Virus itself is believed to be factor, along with social disruptions
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has taken 20,000 #COVID-specific calls since start of #pandemic
“What we’re seeing is a lot of kind of worrisome trends about people who have been exposed or caught #COVID or particularly those who have been hospitalized,” said Dr. Glenn Currier, a physician and chair of the University of South Florida’s psychiatry department. “The rate of severity of #COVID infection tends to track with the rate of severity of the #mentalhealthproblems that follow after.”
Currier said USF is a center for complex mood and #anxiety disorders. It’s a place #patients can turn to when standard treatment doesn’t work. While Currier said increased rates of issues like #depression and #anxiety were noted at the beginning of the #pandemic, it wasn’t clear what role the virus was playing compared to social disruptions, like #isolation and job loss.
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“We’ve had some very worrisome things happening in terms of folks who have no #mentalhealth history whatsoever until they get this #virus, then getting what they call the long haul syndrome where they’re tired, there’s all these medical consequences, but also emotional, psychiatric ones,” said Currier. “We’ve lost some people to #suicide this way, so my alarm bells are off that if people are really dragging on and having problems, they have to seek help.
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Director of Clinical Services Meredith Grau said the center has received 20,000 #COVID-specific calls since the #pandemic’s onset.
“We have many callers that say that their primary stressor that they’re dealing with does relate to #COVID, and that can be related to job loss, grief and loss issues, certainly, just needing emotional support,” said Grau.
Grau said while the #COVID calls are slowing down, there’s also been a slight increase in callers reaching out for #COVID-related issues who say they’ve experienced #suicideideation.
There are signs Grau said people can look for in themselves and others that may signal it’s time to reach out for support. They include loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and a feeling of #hopelessness.
“We think it’s important to recognize and to show ourselves grace,” Grau said. “This has been a really tough year in so many different ways, and so we’ve kind of gotten to a point where we’re used to pushing through, and just this, ‘We can do it,’ kind of mentality.”
According to the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline, warning signs of #suicide can also include someone talking about wanting to die or kill themselves, looking for a way to kill themselves and talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain.
Grau said a good first step toward getting help is to dial 211.
Other resources include:
- Crisis Center of Tampa Bay #COVID Line: 1-844-693-5457
- Visit the center’s web site at: www.crisiscenter.com
- #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline: 1-800-273-8255
You can also learn more about warning signs and risk factors for #suicide here by visiting the Lifeline web site at suicidepreventionlifeline.org