Mental health screenings spike as people deal with anxiety from pandemic

LANSING, Mich. – There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for a lot of families -- isolation and fear can really have an impact on mental health.

RELATED: Coronavirus concerns: Coping with the impact on mental health

Behavioral health experts are anticipating a sharp increase in demand for help that could overwhelm existing systems.

A recent poll finds nearly half of Americans believe the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.

“In younger populations, nearly half of those who screened are screening at the level of severe anxiety," said Mental Health America CEO Paul Gionfriddo.

Long term effects will likely ripple across all age groups. Sleep disturbances, hyper vigilance, PTSD and rises in substance abuse are expected, resulting in a possible 20% increase in demand for mental health services.

“We have to be honest and recognize that if we ignore this, or think that the mental health problems will go away on their own, they’re not going to do that because they never have," Gionfriddo said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has provided resources aimed at helping with with long-term mental health challenges. You can read more here.

RELATED: Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7 mental health support to those affected by coronavirus outbreak

About the Authors: