Are you or someone you know struggling to cope with stress, connect with others, perform daily tasks, or refrain from addictive behaviors?
If so, you’re not alone. And yet, surprisingly few people needing help actually get it. A study by the World Health Organization reported that 30-80 percent of people with mental health issues don’t seek treatment.
This includes 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder, 55 percent of people with panic disorder, 56 percent of people with major depression, and 78 percent of people with alcohol use disorder.
The need for help is growing, as are the rates of suicide and substance-related deaths. The onset of COVID seems to be related to these rates spiking in the last year, particularly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June 2020 that 13 percent of Americans were turning to substance use to cope with stress related to COVID-19. There was an 18 percent increase in overdoses during early months of the pandemic compared with those same months in 2019.
A study from November 2020 showed nearly 20 percent of COVID-19 patients developed a mental health issue — like depression, anxiety, or dementia — within three months of diagnosis. Additional studies have linked the onset of COVID with increased symptoms for those who had existing mental health disorders (not related to contracting COVID).
Feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety surrounding aspects of the pandemic are frequently cited in studies related to mental health implications during COVID. The take away is you truly are not alone if you’re struggling with substance use or increased (or new onset) of mental health issues – COVID or no COVID in the picture.
That can be reassuring, but it doesn’t necessarily help folks who are in a place of distress. Maybe you or someone you know needs help but doesn’t know where to turn for it. Maybe you or they feel too much shame or embarrassment to get help.
But there is hope. In cases of immediate distress or crisis, there are some resources: Utah Strong Recovery Project: 385-386-2289 (call or text, 7a–7p) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
There are many additional resources, as well. The government-sponsored group Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association has a National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and many resources available online to help you find treatment or to help you connect with others. Their website is samhsa.gov.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a Utah chapter with weekly support groups for teens, individuals, families of people with illnesses. Their website also offers great resources and opportunities to connect with others. Visit NAMI.org for information.
AA, NA, and the LDS church have 12 step groups meeting online and offering support in an anonymous and safe setting. You can find more about AA local chapters at utahaa.org, and for Narcotics Anonymous: nautah.org. Refuge Recovery (refugerecovery.org) also offers groups with a support program that is different than the ‘higher power’ approach in 12-step programs – they take a Buddhist approach to recovery.
There is also a new fully online treatment center in Utah that offers up to nine hours a week of therapy, support groups, and classes to help clients get to a stable, healthy place. Hope Recovery and Healing (hoperecoveryandhealing.com) is one of the few fully online recovery centers in the nation.
Their mission is to help those who struggle with mental health and addiction challenges discover their path to recovery, experience healing, and establish patterns of living for mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. (Serve Daily submission)