This article was originally published in The Jewish Observer.
The Covid19 pandemic has both triggered and highlighted the need to change the conversation around mental health issues. According to a recent survey of adults by the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of those responding reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, over 10 percent reported having started or increased substance use, more than one quarter reported stress-related symptoms, and over 10 percent reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days. All of these numbers are nearly double the rates expected before the start of the Covid19 Pandemic.
These increases are tied to risks of suicide, substance abuse, loneliness, food insecurity, just to name a few. Locally the need for mental health services has risen and social workers at Jewish Family Service say that while they are working to respond to the need, there is still stigma around asking for help.
Toni Jacobsen, Clinical Director for JFS, says, “It’s important to change the way we talk about mental health. People are not at fault for needing help. They need compassion and understanding about the trauma that happened to them.”