Pandemic’s toll on mental health accentuated in cities
NBC News / November 23, 2020
Covid-19 hasn’t been the only catastrophe sweeping the country this year.
Health experts say Americans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression made worse by pandemic-related stressors, including job loss, evictions, remote learning, travel restrictions and limits on gathering.
The contentious presidential election, increased racial tensions and natural disasters, in addition to Covid-19, added to Americans’ stressors, said Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Crisis hotline operators are experiencing heavier, more intense workloads, sometimes to their own distress.
Rebecca Zeitlin, assistant director of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Los Angeles County, said working parents are frequent callers to the Disaster Distress Helpline, a national round-the-clock hotline for which she is an operator.
Christian Burgess, director of the Disaster Distress Helpline, said the crisis hotline has received about 50,000 calls so far this year, more than during the last four years combined.
Similarly, those seeking help through texts engaged in more than 1.2 million conversations with the 24-hour Crisis Text Line this year, compared to 1 million for the same period last year, said Bob Filbin, the service’s chief data scientist.
Zeitlin, who is also a new mother, said helping others from home while juggling the demands of being a new mom has been a challenge.
“We’re all part of the same community experiencing the same feelings,” she said.
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