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Interview: The Impact Of The Pandemic On Mental Health

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
NAMI of Greater Orlando
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The coronavirus pandemic, with the threat of deadly disease, social isolation and disruption to daily routines and the economy, is stressing people’s mental health. But the pandemic is just one stressor.

Eric Welch, executive director of The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Orlando, joins WMFE's  "Intersection" program to discuss who’s most at risk and what resources are available for those in need.

“I think we’re starting to really see the beginning of what our chief medical officer said was an epidemic that will have its own waves and intensity,” said Welch. “I think we’re starting to see that now that the summer is over. They’re just pieces of this, this mental health crisis that we’ve seen across the board.”

Welch said the call volume to helplines has gone up - both NAMI of Greater Orlando and national helplines.

And he said a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed young people in particular are struggling with mental health as a result of the pandemic.

“We all know this when we’re having an issue. Where do we go, what do we do? We go and get with our friends and we hug each other and we support each other, it’s a natural thing to do. And when you start taking that away, the younger people don’t have quite the resiliency maybe, and adults who are struggling with that too, that don’t have that resiliency are now struggling maybe more than others.”

Welch said trying to maintain a routine is important for mental health - and keeping in contact with friends and loved ones, even if it’s a phone call or connecting online.

You can reach out to NAMI of Greater Orlando using its contact form or call the helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline is free and confidential and available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.