COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KRDO) - While the holidays are known for being a joyful season, many find this time of year incredibly taxing on their mental health. A study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.
Mental Health Professionals like Timothy Swanson say the pandemic has exacerbated the issue.
“It's a very concerning time," said Swanson, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addiction Counselor in Colorado Springs. "There’s a lot of anger, depression, and anxiety people are experiencing at this time in their lives, over any number of things. Be it relationship issues, coronavirus, I think we’re starting to see the accumulation of everything. I think it’s going to be very concerning for the next two or three months."
Swanson says with Thanksgiving only days away, his clients have already been expressing anxieties surrounding the season.
"They verbalize it all the time, their frustrations with the isolation, anxiety, and depression that comes with this," said Swanson.
Another issue right now is the availability of providers. Swanson says his clients have told him before they found his practice they were told by other providers their soonest available appointments were 12-14 weeks out.
"If people are seeking help, they need it today," said Swanson. "Not two months from today."
Swanson urges anyone who is turned away from a provider to keep reaching out to other resources. This is his same advice for if someone doesn't feel they're getting the help they need from their current mental health professional.
"If you find yourself losing interest in anything, have problems sleeping, feel worthless, please reach out to any one of the resources that are available to you in the community," said Swanson. "There are people that will help and want to help, but you have to call us."
For those who are worried about the cost of treatment, Medicaid can be used for Behavioral Health Services. The government program says it is the single largest payer for mental health services in the United States.
Mental Health Resources:
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 800-950-6264 or email@example.com
- National Drug Helpline: 844-289-0879
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin (SAMHSA) Helpline: 800-662-4357
- Partnership For Drug Free Kids: 855-378-4373
- I Matter Colorado: New Colorado program helping 18 to 21-year-olds with IEP and kids 18 and younger with free behavioral health sessions.