Mental health experts see increase in depression and anxiety in past year and a half

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas – May is Mental Health Awareness Month and mental health experts have said the pandemic has increased the need for mental health services.

Amanda Yaeger, Community Based Mental Health Director at Starcare Specialty Health System, said they’ve seen more people with anxiety and depression since the beginning of the pandemic.

“People are just seeking someone to talk to,” said Yaeger, “Somebody to help walk them through this moment and to teach them how to get through this time.”

Yaeger said the pandemic has increased the use of mental health services through virtual means, which has been more beneficial for some because it’s allowed people to be able to make and keep appointments where they might otherwise not be able to make.

“Public transportation takes a long time to access and to get from point A to point B,” said Yaeger, “We [see] people that have difficulty with transportation to get to their appointment, so it’s made access a lot easier.”

David Trotter, clinical psychologist and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, said mental health quality can affect physical, as well as mental health.

“It’s really common for people who struggle from a lot of stress or even mental to struggle more than physical health and vice versa,” said Trotter.

Trotter said people should not feel selfish reaching out for help and that there are some signs our mental health has taken a toll.

“If you kind of emotionally don’t feel great,” said Trotter, “[If you] find yourself not doing as well in areas of your life like your job, [or] relationships – that might be an indication to seek help. [Also], if you’re finding you’re drinking more or using other drugs, [seek help].”

Yeager said the pandemic has caused people to avoid some self care that can affect mental health overall. Yeager said people should make taking care of themselves a priority.

“Make sure that you’re still eating healthy, that you’re active, that you’re getting out of the house,” said Yeager, “[that you] are connecting with others, [and] make sure you’re staying informed but not watching too much of the news or too much social media.”

For resources on mental health in Lubbock click here.

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