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Pandemic, Shootings Taking a Toll on Mental Health

Over at Deaconess Health System, mental health leaders say with all of the isolation and coping with so much death over the last year, they have seen over 2,000 new patients -- and the demand shows no signs of stopping.

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 8:29 PM

Health leaders say they underestimated the toll the pandemic would take on mental health.

Scott Branam, the chief administrative officer at Deaconess Cross Pointe, said it could take up to two months to even do follow-up appointments with patients.

"It's difficult when a patient has to wait to get in to see a provider,” he said.

While other health leaders say for those having trouble processing their emotions -- it’s important to seek help.

"The pandemic has affected everyone from a mental health standpoint,” said Heidi Dunniway, the regional medical officer for St. Vincent Evansville. “Everyone I think has some sense of possibly isolation --fear -- worry about themselves and their families -- and we're also seeing that in kids."

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch visited Evansville Friday -- still processing the tragedy of the shooting the night before.

"The loss of Hoosier lives and the lives of Hoosier families,” she said. “Will be changed forever."

Lt. Gov Crouch says the governor’s office plans to tackle this epidemic.

"It's much more challenging for us to focus on the real underlying issue,” she said. “And that's mental health. And so that is a journey we are undertaking in the state."

And while things are looking up with Covid-19 cases going down -- that does not mean the need for mental health help will.

"The human cost of this pandemic is huge -- and it's going to grow exponentially in the years to come," Lt. Gov Crouch said.

"The mental health crisis will likely continue for the next 12 months, 18 months, possibly the next 2 years," Branam said. "As people begin to recover from the losses they've suffered."

Health officials say to not be discouraged by the long wait times and to still seek help if needed. And if you are truly in crisis -- to go to the emergency room.

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