As somebody who initially struggled to just accept his personal bipolar dysfunction prognosis years in the past and now works to assist others, Sean Driscoll is aware of how arduous it may be for somebody to acknowledge they’re struggling.
With the pandemic aggravating psychological well being considerations, the peer assist specialist on the College of Maryland Medical Heart’s Division of Psychiatry says he focuses on steering folks to assets that may assist.
“It is OK to speak about your issues,” mentioned Driscoll, who additionally writes songs to lift consciousness about psychological well being points below his stage identify, Driscoe. “It is OK to speak in confidence to folks and to belief, and it is OK to really feel.”
With COVID-19 instances surging and a tough winter anticipated, state and native officers in addition to healthcare professionals are taking steps to lift consciousness about getting assist throughout a time of rising psychological well being considerations, significantly throughout the vacation season when the issue can develop into extra acute.
Dr. David Marcozzi, a professor of emergency medication on the College of Maryland College of Medication who’s a senior medical advisor for COVID-19 to Gov. Larry Hogan, heightened consideration on psychological well being throughout the pandemic when he spoke in regards to the suicide of a longtime buddy throughout a information convention final month.
“Let’s be sure that we attain out,” he mentioned, pausing as he spoke with problem. “Let’s be sure that we assist one another and speak to knowledgeable if useful.”
Maryland has seen a 30% enhance in calls thus far this yr to the state’s 211 disaster hotline, mentioned Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who chairs a state fee on psychological well being. The lieutenant governor has been main the panel since early final yr.
“What we have been doing is a little more advocating and asking folks to take heed to their very own psychological well-being, and if they’ve any considerations to hunt assist to speak to somebody and expressing to others to succeed in to their mates and their household and folks they have not talked to in a very long time,” Rutherford mentioned.
The trouble shares a reference to work in battling drug overdoses, which have been rising throughout the pandemic. Drug-related deaths are up thus far this yr in Maryland. There have been 1,326 complete drug- and alcohol-related deaths via June, in comparison with 1,215 final yr, in line with the well being division.
Preliminary knowledge from the health worker’s workplace exhibits a 13% lower in suicides within the state from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, in comparison with the identical interval in 2019.
“Whereas we will not but know for sure, a lower in suicide charges could also be attributed to an elevated deal with growth of Maryland’s Disaster System, together with elevated psychological well being disaster beds, elevated entry to substance use issues therapy, elevated advertising and marketing of assist companies like Maryland’s Helpline, and elevated outreach by native behavioral well being authorities,” mentioned Dr. Aliya Jones, deputy secretary of the well being division’s Behavioral Well being Administration.
Healthcare professionals have been conscious of higher psychological well being wants since earlier than the pandemic started, mentioned Donna Jacobs, a senior vp for presidency relations on the College of Maryland Medical System. In 2018, the medical system held a day-long program with specialists and psychological well being suppliers and began a discussion board each six months.
When the pandemic hit, the boards went on-line and have targeted on psychological well being points regarding COVID-19. The boards within the Not All Wounds are Seen collection have created an opportunity for folks to listen to from specialists and ask questions on topics like added nervousness and stress, and how you can speak to household and kids in regards to the pandemic.
One discussion board targeted on senior residents who is perhaps dwelling alone, or others who stay alone and really feel reduce off from what they usually do.
In June, UMMS additionally held a two-part collection on dealing with racism and social justice considerations, to assist handle nervousness regarding protests towards racial injustice similtaneously the pandemic.
One of many foremost messages: it is OK to hunt assist.
“You do not have to attempt to navigate this or determine it out by yourself or be embarrassed that you’ve got these sorts of ideas,” mentioned Jacobs, who has helped arrange the boards.