SIDNEY — The coronavirus has altered everyday life for most people, disrupting routines and keeping family and friends at least 6 feet apart — all of which can contribute to a strain on mental health.
“Make no mistake about it, people are struggling right now. There’s a lot of barriers that people are facing right now, during this time, in our community. We’re just really in a crisis right now,” New Vision Service Coordinator Megan Campbell said.
While Campbell specializes with Wilson Health’s New Vision, a program that works with individuals in the community who need assistance with addiction problems, mental health is something she is passionate about. With the stay-at-home orders in place across Ohio and countless people out of work due to restrictions with essential versus nonessential business, Campbell says that there’s an increase in mental health related problems in the general population.
“People are disconnected, feeling isolated, you know, not being able to go out to work. They’re told to stay home, yet they need to leave in order to get food, medications, and so, there’s a lot of grieving going on,” Campbell said. “The struggle for just the general population and people who have these issues, but also people who are on the front lines, there’s a lot of increases in some mental health issues that are either acute or relapsing, because of what’s going on.”
One of the biggest contributing factors to an increase in mental health problems for individuals in the community is their routines being disrupted. According to Campbell, keeping a consistent routine and home and finding projects and activities to work on is crucial to keep from falling into more negative feelings that can persist and push someone toward crisis mode. Reaching out is also essential; and while in-person counseling isn’t an option at the moment, there are hotlines and other resources available to those who need them.
“If you’re reaching crisis level, you have to reach out. You need to feel comfortable with doing that. I would say, out of everything, if you’re a loved one and you don’t know what to do, call that crisis line, and there’s people who have that background and experience that can guide you to making some decisions for you and your loved ones,” Campbell said. “Anything anybody ever needs, whether or not they feel like it’s with us, if it’s substance abuse related or mental health related, give us a call. We’ll route it where it needs to go and assist in any way that we can. Encouraging people to reach out is just so important, and we have to get them more comfortable with that, and knowing that there are resources available to them.”
In other areas of the state and even the county, hospitals have temporarily closed the doors to their counseling services while they tackle the pandemic head-on. Wilson Health, as well as other hospitals in the area, are still offering their counseling services via phone. As a result, there have been many people outside the Shelby County area seeking help from these services.
“We’re seeing calls from the Columbus area, we’re seeing calls from way up north because a lot of other hospitals have put this type of service on hold. To me, that just speaks volumes about what Wilson feels is important in their community. There’s people who need this,” Campbell said. “We may not be able to do it face-to-face, but we can do Skype, we can do Zoom, we can do phone calls, we can do Telehealth. We’re all really improvising, and I just find that really beautiful, and I’m so proud of our services in Shelby County.”
One of the most important things, in Campbell’s eyes, is making sure people know that they are not alone in what they’re experiencing.
“This is the time when everybody can really step back and say, there probably isn’t another person who doesn’t know what you’re going through right now. There’s that camaraderie there, there’s that mutual understanding that everybody’s really going through a lot. We can really band together, and we’re all going to get through this,” Campbell said.
If people are feeling they are in crisis or need to seek help, there are hotlines available to help:
• Family Resource Center of Northwest Ohio, 937-710-4616
• Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services, 800-351-7347
• The Hopeline, a 24/7 crisis hotline, 1-800-567-HOPE (4673)
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.