CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A recent report from the group Mental Health America ranks West Virginia 39th in the nation when it comes to the prevalence of mental illness and access to care for those conditions.
COVID-19 and political turmoil have made it even more difficult for people to manage their mental health.
“The events since January 6 have been a stressor that we have not seen in this country in my 73 years,” said Dr. David Clayman, a clinical and forensic psychologist. He said it is difficult to find a way to guide people through the circumstances facing them right now.
“The unknown is what we are dealing with. The unpredictability is what we are dealing with. The people with anxiety disorders, with PTSD with depression, those are the kinds of things that make things worse,” Clayman said. “People that have been coping and finding a way around it are now finding they are having trouble coping.”
According to a report called the State of Mental Health in America even before COVID-19, 19% of adults were experiencing mental illness.
Since COVID the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. People being screened for mental health conditions are reporting that loneliness and isolation are their biggest challenges. More people are also reporting frequent thoughts of suicide or self harm.
“In the midst of this during a time that should be an orderly transition with predictability and civility it has turned out now to be something completely different which is shaking up even the strongest people that we know,” Clayman said.