As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, another pandemic is raging: a mental health crisis.
Isolation, economic uncertainty, a mounting death toll and fear of the unknown have intensified during the last year leading to a decline in mental health for many Americans.
During the pandemic, about 40 percent of adults in the United States have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is up from about 10 percent of adults who reported those symptoms before the pandemic.
In Maine, the national statistics hold true with 41.5 percent reporting feeling anxious and depressed in March of 2021.
This four-fold increase is alarming but not entirely surprising given that COVID has disrupted many of our systems and caused fractures in our social fabric.
A pandemic is not just a medical occurrence; it affects people, communities and social structures. It has the potential to expose inherent weaknesses or exacerbate them.
The pandemic has affected everyone, but not nearly in the same way. For those with a mental health diagnosis, accessing care has been made much more difficult by the continued health care crisis. And, for many Mainers who have never experienced mental health issues before, navigating these difficulties alongside a pandemic can be a challenge.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) maintains a crisis text line available 24/7. Text NAMI to 741741 to speak with a trained crisis councilor. NAMI Maine also supports a statewide crisis line at (888) 568-1112.
In addition, for those who are looking for resources, NAMI Maine operates a helpline Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. where trained professionals help people find the resources they need.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, reach out to NAMI Maine for help.