By David Thomas & Dr. Mike Sevilla
A Doctor and a Global Human Rights Journalist/Mental Health Case Manager
fight for more Mental Health programs
"You're going to need a bigger boat" Jaws
My name is David Thomas I am a Mental Health Case manager as well as a Global Human Rights Journalist. I not only work locally as a Mental Health Case Manager but I do interviews all over the world on various topics from War Crimes to Mental Health. Before I get into any numbers which are staggering and in my opinion still under reported as the stigma of receiving mental health treatment is still ever present in our consciousness. I work with children and adults, I am in the schools as well as on the streets trying to get clients out of their homes to lessen their isolation by walking and exercising. What I've have seen with my own eyes from the beginning of the pandemic to present day is a dramatic increase in our children struggling with anxiety and depression.The stressors of fears of Virus as well as fear of violence from peers has made our kids' lives a state of constant stress.
There is also an increase in suicide attempts by teens as well as adults. Adults who struggled with issues of addiction have become overwhelmed by the constant stressors and have relapsed. Poverty and homelessness has increased, as you drive down your main street you will see more people pushing grocery carts with their belongings. I am The Social media Marketing Director for a Food and Clothing pantry in my hometown and I can tell you that pantries are being exacerbated by the need for help, and assistance and that the amount of people the pantries are serving has tripled since the beginning of the pandemic to now. Increasingly people are walking off of their jobs and just not working,I feel that this may be not from being lazy but from just not mentally being able to hold a job anymore as the Psychological effects of the pandemic have opened the Pandora's Box of mental health issues that we as Americans were lying to ourselves about and self- medicating with Social Media and buying shoes. That box is open now and it has released a ton of people's personal demons that we are now witnessing.
Here are some numbers, I promise they are wrong and should be doubled.
1. 21% of adults in the USA are experiencing mental health issues, that's over 50 million - NAM
2. Suicide is the leading Cause of death among people aged 10 to 34 - PDG
3. Issues with mental health and substance abuse worldwide have increased by 13% - WHO
I'm Dr. Mike Sevilla and I am a Family Physician in rural Ohio, and it is no secret that the mental health resources available BEFORE the pandemic were very few. Now, as the pandemic started and has progressed, I can share with everyone that we don't even have a grasp of the mental health crisis that is going on out there.
I see patients in my office every day, both children and adults. Even though the pandemic has been going on for
months and years, I still have patients who have a lot of fear leaving their own home. I have patients hesitant to see their friends and family, in person, because of fear. This fear is being converted into addictions like technology, food, alcohol , drugs, and others.
And, out there in society, you can see the emotional effects of this pandemic, whether it be short tempers, arguments, sometimes physical violence and crime, not to mention the cyberbullying and other activity on social media. One of our goals is to raise awareness of this mental health crisis, that no one knows about yet, and no one wants to know about. Mental health access has been the most challenging that it has ever been, and funding for mental health has always been a challenge.
I'm going to be honest with you, we are in trouble and in need of dynamic mental health programs for all with access to all. The effects globally on people's lives as well as economies of countries, not just America will be crippled by populations of people who have not received assistance and just cannot function in their societal systems. Close your eyes and think California, but imagine that dystopic vision is everywhere. It is our hope that we can urge not only our country but others as well to step forward and create programs to address this.