Mental health & addiction hotlines up 700 percent in Indiana amid pandemic

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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The coronavirus is continuing to change society each and every day.

Millions are struggling financially, many are without jobs, and now there is a growing fear that the conditions of those who are struggling with mental health and addiction may get worse as many are forced to isolate.

"We are living in challenging times, there is no doubt about that."

Dr. Cameual Wright is the Indiana medical director for CareSource, a nationally recognized health care provider.

She's also in charge of making sure patients have the resources they need in regards to mental health and addiction, especially now with many people required to stay at home in isolation.

"Individuals with a preexisting condition with depression or anxiety, or have a history of substance use are particularly effected," Wright says.

According to the Family and Social Services Administration, addiction hotline call rates are are up 700 percent in Indiana. Before COVID-19, FSSA states addiction hotlines were averaging 20 call per week. Since COVID-19, calls are coming in at an unprecedented rate of 20 calls per week -- seven times more than normal.

"Unfortunately, the data is showing that we are experiencing an increased rate of suicide. We also know that alcohol sales are higher than normal more recently. We really are seeing data that people are struggling and unfortunately those struggles are leading to poor outcomes," Wright says.

According to Dr. Wright, there are some ways to help curb those poor outcomes such as: creating a routine, performing daily exercises, following a healthy diet, and maintaining connections with your loved ones.

"I would just encourage people to know that you are not alone. What you are experiencing, many of us are experiencing as well. Maintain your connection to other people and reach out if you need help," Wright says.

If you find yourself struggling with mental health or with substance abuse issues, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 24-hour helpline by dialing 1-800-662-HELP.