Health care provider studies impact of pandemic on mental health

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For over a year, we have been sharing their stories.

“It definitely took a big hit on me,” Tanya Dean said.

People recovering from drugs or alcohol are trying to overcome the pressures of the pandemic.

“That kind of a challenge was posed when they closed some of the trading halls and some of the things people could do to come together,” said Matt Williams.

“When it comes to addiction and mental health issues, we’ve seen an escalation during this time,” said Allison Walsh.

Walsh is vice president of business development and branding for Advanced Recovery Systems, a behavioral health care company with operations across the country, including in Lake Worth and Miami.

“There are so many people who, for the first time, are showing some pretty big and serious symptoms,” she said.

Walsh says they have spent the past year researching the effects of the pandemic on mental health and substance use. According to their findings, West Palm Beach had one of the highest substance use rates at 35%, followed by Lake Worth Beach at 33%.

“When you look even deeper and see 25% to 35% of these people have severe symptoms just since the start of the pandemic, it opens your eyes,” Walsh said.

She says they interviewed around 500 people in each city for the survey. Walsh says their findings help them better serve the community.

“My concern is that people are not reaching out, that they are not finding the appropriate resources,” she said. “So that’s where we really want to make sure that if you see something in yourself or someone else makes that phone call, at least you get tested.”


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