PHOENIX - If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)
Anxiety and depression related issues are surging as the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the new year, according to Valley mental health professionals.
Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders, every day there's something that changes, causing a lack of structure, and when adults struggle, that typically leads to the kids struggling as well.
"We had more contacts last year than we’ve ever had before," says Nikki Kontz, clinical director at Teen Lifeline.
When schools closed in March of 2020, Teen Lifeline increased its texting hours. Nearly 50% of contact has now been made through text, and calls are also high.
Kontz says teens are reaching out for help like never before. She says calls are typically down during the holidays, especially calls from teenagers.
"Just because the cyclical nature of their stress," she explained, adding, "We didn’t see that at all last year. There was no reprieve."
Kontz says depression, anxiety, isolation issues and feelings of hopelessness are the top issues the organization is seeing.
"For kids, their whole job is learning that socialization, and learning to navigate the world and school is the only place they can do that without an adult around or without their parents specifically. So their own little world that they learn these really important skills, they don’t have that right now," Kontz said.
The mental health of adults is also being affected. The Crisis Response Network has seen 19,000-20,000 calls per month.
"We’re seeing 40% increase since last year in anxiety-related calls. 31% increases in depression-related calls. So although suicide and self-harm calls are flat in increase, the risk factors with anxiety and depression are much higher," said Justin Chase, president and CEO of the Crisis Response Network.
Suicidal thoughts typically come down the road from anxiety and depression issues so that is a fear for them moving forward, Chase explained.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)