Saturday, April 13

South Florida behavioral health care provider researches impact of pandemic on mental health, substance abuse

For more than a year we’ve shared their stories.“It definitely took a big hit on me,” Tanya Dean said.People in drug or alcohol recovery are trying to navigate the pressures of the pandemic.“That kind of made a challenge when they shut down some of the fellowship halls and some of the things people could do to kind of congregate,” Matt Williams said.“When it comes to substance abuse issues and mental health issues, we’ve seen an escalation during this time,” Allison Walsh said.Walsh is the Vice President of Business Development and Branding for Advanced Recovery Systems, a behavioral health care company with locations around the country including Lake Worth and Miami.“There are so many individuals that for the first time are experiencing pretty significant and severe symptoms,” she said.Walsh says they’ve spent the past year researching the pandemic’s effects on mental health and substance use. According to their findings West Palm Beach had one of the highest rates of substance use at 35%, followed by Lake Worth Beach at 33%.“When you look at it even deeper and you see 25% to 35% of those individuals are experiencing severe symptoms just since the pandemic started that is eye opening,” Walsh said.She says they surveyed around 500 people in each city for the survey. Walsh says their findings are helping them better serve the community.“My concern is that people won’t reach out, that they won’t find the appropriate resources,” she said. “So, that’s where we really want to make sure if you are seeing something in yourself or somebody else make that phone call, at least get screened for it.”

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