Flash Flood Watch
until SAT 11:00 PM MST, Grand Canyon Country, Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Western Mogollon Rim, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Aguila Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County

Persons infected with COVID-19 at risk of psychiatric disorder

There is more concerning data about the long-term effects of the coronavirus. Researchers from Oxford in England have discovered that people infected with the virus are also at risk of developing a psychiatric disorder.

"There has never been this level of threat that I am aware in my career," said Dr. Byron Bloemer, a psychologist.

A study published earlier this month shows one in five people diagnosed with COVID-19 are also diagnosed with a mental illness within 90 days.

"It just escalates their anxiety, escalates the functioning of the nervous system," Dr. Bloemer said.

Dr. Byron Bloemer

Bloemer, the proprietor of Cedar Creek Counseling and Cedar Lake Counseling in Mequon, said his therapists are seeing these symptoms firsthand among patients.

"Low energy, fears of death," Bloemer said. "Panic attacks, heart is racing, social anxiety."

The alarming trend comes as Americans, especially young adults, are already reporting a major increase in stress, depression, and fear related to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Bloemer said as a result, business is up 300% compared to 2019. His office is stretched to capacity.

 "We’re getting 15-20 new calls a day. And all of our therapists are full," Dr. Bloemer said.

"We’ve surged a number of different hotlines and warmlines and peer support lines," said Andrea Palm, DHS Secretary-Designee.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android

Just like in the emergency room, Bloemer said the longer patients in psychological distress have to wait, the more dire their situation becomes.

"The rate of alcoholism and drug abuse is going up again. Suicide without drugs, going up also," Bloemer said. "And some of them just wouldn’t be able to tolerate the wait."

Dr. Bloemer said his clinics are looking to hire additional therapists to meet the growing need. In the meantime, patients will be prioritized based on urgency.

Related links

Lastly, for those struggling with mental illness, Dr. Bloemer encourages them to seek therapy and to keep the following advice in mind: "Remember, things are all temporary. Remember that if you stay in this moment… that makes it a little bit more manageable. And then stay in touch with people they can talk with."