HUNTSVILLE, Ala — As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, local doctors are continuing to raise the alarm about the unexpected impact that the virus and social isolation can have on mental health.
“Don’t suffer by yourself. contact someone,” said Dr. Belvia Matthews, a clinical psychologist at Psychological & Counseling Associates in Huntsville.
Matthews plea follows a recent study by the CDC which found that 11 percent of adults surveyed had “seriously considered suicide” due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Another study published by the Journal of The American Medical Association showed an uptick in Google searches around the word “anxiety” in recent months, a symptom often accompanied by depression.
“It’s actually increasing for the different patients that I’m seeing, having to stay at home…and not having the social contact, then hearing the news about the number of people that have the virus,” said Matthews.
Matthews is also concerned that not everyone who needs help is reaching out because of stigmas associated with mental health. The doctor stressed that trained medical professionals are required to keep patient conversations confidential. Matthews is also urging people to check in on any friends or family that they may be worried about.
“Hearing that voice will make a difference and it will kind of encourage them, okay I might not see you, but I’ve heard from you. I know someone is thinking of me,” said Matthews.
The National Institute of Mental Health has posted a number of resources on its website for those who are battling anxiety or depression.