Rate of essential workers considering suicide on the rise amid pandemic

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – While essentials workers have been managing demands in the middle of the pandemic, trauma-related disorders, anxiety and depression symptoms continue to rise.

A CDC study reports, 40-percent of adults surveyed were struggling with mental health or substance use. Health experts say the spike in financial stability concerns and the health of loved ones are COVID-19 related.

Over 21-percent of essential workers surveyed considered suicide in late June.

“We are pushing those folks who are in essential positions to continue to work at the same levels and if not more than they’ve ever done before,” Lorri Parrish, a director at Waccamaw Center for Mental Health said.

Doctors at the health center usually notice a decrease in patients during the summer, but over the last couple of months Parrish says all of the Waccamaw centers have seen more patients.

“We’ve seen an increase overall in just the admissions numbers for the last couple of months,” Parrish explained. “I would also say we’ve seen a slight shift in the population of folks seeking mental health treatment.”

Younger adults, people of color, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers are among those who are facing mental health disorders at a disproportionate rate, the CDC reports.

The use of substances to cope with coronavirus related stress, were also found higher in essential workers.

The CDC says the public health agencies should increase intervention and prevention efforts to address mental health conditions.

All of the Waccamaw Centers for Mental Health have transitioned to virtual treatment sessions, giving patients the option of seeing doctors for in-person appointments while being socially distant.

Parrish recommends connecting to a local church or talking with a loved one. “Just making sure folks feel and understand that they are just not alone in this very specific time,” she said.

“There are a lot of folks going through the things they are going through and seeking out support wherever it is – even in a way that they may have not done before,” Parrish said.

The local crisis hotline is available 24/7 at 1 (833) 364-2274. The CDC also offers other mental health resources.

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