The pandemic’s impact on mental health in Michiana

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 10:47 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - While the pandemic seems to be coming to an end, one expert said the mental health consequences will not go away any time soon.

Dr. John Gallagher, Addictions Therapist at Bashor Children’s Home, said it will take a while to treat the mental health impact of the pandemic.

“We know that onset of mental health symptoms and addictions symptoms tend to occur following significant life stressors,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher also said there has been a 30 percent increase in some of the most common mental illnesses.

“This increase in mental health symptoms, in addiction-related issues, in suicides, drug overdoses and deaths is not surprising. We anticipated that because of the pandemic,” Gallagher said.

The good news is recovery is possible.

“The mental health symptoms from the pandemic can last from months, years and decades if not treated successfully,” Gallagher said

He said many are seeking help and stated referrals and caseloads are up.

Here are some ways you can keep your mental health in check:

Be genuine to yourself

Talk to people you trust

Be active

Healthy diet

“Not everyone needs formal treatment. Some people rely on their natural supports, which may be family, friends and their spiritual or religious group...And it may require people to kind of re-visit, ‘how was I taking care of my mental health prior to the pandemic?’ Ask yourself that question,” Gallagher said.

If you are struggling, do not be afraid to ask for help.

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