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Mental health deteriorates for some as they brave pandemic, impacts seen as suicide rates rise

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Life turned upside down for Americans in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the world. As the nation approaches the second anniversary of the ongoing pandemic, health experts are watching its impact on the mental health of Americans.

Not only have people gone through a public health crisis – they’ve gone through a year of political turmoil, calls for social justice and polarization on masks and social distancing.

While people focused heavily on protecting themselves and their loved ones from the virus, about four in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.

News 3 spoke to Dr. Michelle Sanchez, a Certified Professional Counselor, about the impact of these stressors on our mental health. Sanchez says just as a patient would go to the hospital with physical illness or injury, so too with mental health.

“It’s the same. If you let go of depression or anxiety and don’t treat it, so many different things can happen,” Sanchez said. “It can affect you, it can affect people. around you.It’s important to treat it, like I said earlier, like it’s physical.

Mental health, when left untreated, can have fatal consequences. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan says they have seen firsthand the impact on the Columbus community.

“Suicides, we will have an average of 50 to 60 per year. We have seen an increase in this recently. Especially with some of the active duty military, old people, ”Bryan confirmed.

No matter how old or how much luggage a person is carrying, Dr Sanchez says it’s never too late to see a therapist.

“A good therapist loves someone like that. A good therapist loves someone who has a lot of stuff to unpack because we want to help you unpack it and we want to open that suitcase, close it, so you can have a good trip for the rest of your life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues or need help, click here to be connected with a qualified and trained mental health professional.