Survey: 2020 a tough year for mental health


By Andrew Carter - acarter@aimmediamidwest.com



BUCYRUS — A recent Gallup survey has revealed that Americans’ assessment of their mental health is at its lowest level in the past 20 years.

According to the survey, 76% of Americans rate their mental health as “positive,” but that represents a 9% decrease from 2019. Gallup has been conducting its November Health and Healthcare survey annually since 2001.

Of course, the 2020 survey results reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s mental and emotional well being. Up until this year, according to Gallup, Americans’ rating of their mental health as “excellent” or “good” ranged from 81% to 89%.

Brad DeCamp, executive director of Crawford-Marion Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board, said his agency and its affiliates have been serving people who, in the past, wouldn’t have expressed a need to seek out mental health services.

“What we’re starting to see is people who were probably not known to our system historically,” DeCamp said. “People who may have had good relationships, a good foundation that gave them some emotional capital, so that if they encountered stress, they could deal with it and not really seek out professional help. But now that we’ve been in the pandemic for nine months almost, people are starting to feel the effects of not only job loss, but also isolation and not being able to do things that are normal in their line of thinking. I think it’s creating a situation where that level of stress is well beyond that population that we would typically serve.”

DeCamp explained that “emotional capital” is a person’s social network “that they rely on and count on” in stressful situations. That network can include a faith group, family unit, or other individuals or groups of people close to the individual.

Paula Brown, associate director of Crawford-Marion ADAMH, said the agency’s “warm line” is receiving more calls than its “hot line” because many people are just in search of human contact in some form.

“Instead of a crisis-type call, it’s more of just touching base and just wanting to talk to somebody,” Brown said. “The providers can talk with them and encourage them to make an appointment, if they need one. I think our providers are doing a good job of offering virtual appointments, too, to adjust to people’s comfort levels. The providers have been doing a great job adapting to this new way of giving service.”

Brown said even in this time of social distancing and mask wearing, people still need and want face-to-face counseling sessions.

The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who have lost loved ones, Brown noted. She said the pandemic has probably exacerbated those feelings for some people.

“This year a lot of people have lost loved ones unexpectedly,” Brown said. “With the isolation, this year’s holiday season could be particularly difficult.”

Brown pointed out that grief share groups are available for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one or friend. She said people can go to the website griefshare.org and type in their zip code to locate a group.

DeCamp said Crawford County residents in need of help can call Community Counseling Services (CCS); CONTACT, Inc. Crawford County; or the Crisis Text Line.

CCS is a “comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment agency which provides a wide array of services including individual and group counseling, medication somatic services, case management, crisis/emergency services.” CCS can be reached by calling 419-562-2000.

CONTACT, Inc. Crawford County is a “24-hour crisis, information and referral line, and a telephone answering service for various community agencies.” The telephone number is 419-562-9010.

The Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting “4hope” to 741741.

For information about services offered by Crawford-Marion ADAMH, go to the website mcadamh.com.

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By Andrew Carter

acarter@aimmediamidwest.com

Follow @AndrewACCarter on Twitter.

Follow @AndrewACCarter on Twitter.