East Texas agencies say pandemic heightened mental health concerns

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 12:06 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. For some, the impact may be physical. For others, the mental and emotional trauma can be the main source of struggle.

“Definitely our services have increased,” said Kinnie Reina, director of communications at Burke health services. “Pretty much since last March, so since the pandemic started affecting us in East Texas.”

Kinnie Reina, says that crisis services have increased four times the normal amount at Burke during the pandemic.

While it is a positive sign that people are seeking treatment in East Texas, nationally, the number of people needing mental health services continues to rise.

“It does appear that there is likely a 10 to 12 percent increase in mental health needs across the board during this pandemic,” said Stephen Lantis, licensed practicing counselor associate at Burke. “Maybe even more in some areas.”

Lantis works directly with people who are dealing with various struggles.

He says it’s important that people pay attention to their patterns, and experiences with their moods.

Having trouble with daily functions and activities, or having violent thoughts are signs it may be time to seek extra help.

There are also specific sections on the CDC website that provide resources and information to those negatively impacted mentally by COVID 19.

“There’s no one size fits all pandemic solution for people’s mental health needs,” said Lantis. “We are looking at all sorts of issues: anxiety, depression, and crisis issues that come up for people as well.”

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