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Local mental health experts seeing increase in mental health challenges as pandemic continues

It's no surprise the pandemic has taken a toll on us and our mental health over the last year. According to experts, all signs indicate that trend will continue.

TOLEDO, Ohio — As COVID-19 case numbers grow, so do the number of people facing mental health challenges. That's the recent trend our local mental health experts are seeing.

"Definitely, mental health challenges are on the rise," said Robin Isenberg, executive director at NAMI of Greater Toledo.

She says more and more people are starting to feel the impacts of the pandemic and continued isolation.

"I have to believe that over the past couple of months, with all of the stuff that our nation has faced and whatnot, that percentage is probably going up," she said.

These are some of the numbers NAMI of Greater Toledo is seeing in the U.S.

Before the pandemic, nearly 20% of people were living with some type of mental health challenges. 

Fast forward to just a few months ago and nearly 60% of people have reported at least one of the related symptoms.

"I think just about all of us have experienced a down day or we've had a stressful day and we kind of understand what it's like now for folks who are living with diagnosed mental health challenges," Isenberg said.

But, it's not all bad. She says that increased number means more people understand what those who have a mental health diagnosis are going through.

"It's made us all kind of realize that mental illness is real. We need to start eliminating that stigma," she said. "We need to start talking about it and we need to get folks hooked up with services."

If you need help, Isenberg says you can call your local NAMI chapter or the Lucas County emotional support hotline.

There are also other ways to get help.

If you want to talk to someone and are not in immediate danger, Text '4Hope' to 741-741 to be connected to the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Crisis Text Line. There is no charge and the information will not show up on your phone bill.

Anyone experiencing a crisis can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 

Locally, you can also call Rescue Mental Health 419-255-9585 or the Wood County Crisis Line at 419-502-4673. 

If you are a young member of the LGBTQ+ community and need help in any way, call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. Calls made to the Trevor Project are free and kept confidential.