Online Originals: Omicron surge could lead to uptick in mental health cases, an ongoing issue since the start of the pandemic

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Mental health has been an ongoing discussion since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now with the omicron variant surging across the U.S., local medical experts say they may see an uptick in people seeking mental health services as cases continue to rise.

The CDC is reporting thousands of new omicron cases every single day. That, coupled with the normal stress of the holiday season, has medical professionals saying an influx of mental health crises could be in the works.

The good thing is, the pandemic has allowed mental health to become part of the discussion, lessening the stigma.

“Not that we haven’t seen it before, but just the people that are coming in seeking help that are really having suicidal thoughts or really aren’t able to control their mental health like they were before, or again, have never had mental health symptoms before and the pandemic has exasperated those or brought those to light.”

Lacey Dabelow – Crossroads Adult Mental Health Director for CarolinaEast Medical Center

Dabelow said while the inpouring of mental health inpatients has been continuous over the pandemic, it seemingly comes and goes the most when there are new developments with the coronavirus, such as new variant strains like omicron.

“I really think it’s been ongoing, and different times that the different waves come through, sometimes those are happening during the times, and sometimes it’s right afterward because sometimes people are in that fight or flight mode, that stress response, where they are just taking care of basic needs and taking care of themselves a little bit more afterward. But it comes in waves,” Dabelow said.

Dabelow said finding the coping skills that work for each individual are important to getting through this.

“Prioritize good sleep routines, healthy eating, reaching out to our support systems, getting professional help if you need to, and doing things to spend time in nature, and other healthy activities to provide that stress relief and to balance the stress with enjoyable activities,” Dabelow said.

RESOURCES: 

If this is a medical or a life-threatening emergency please call 911.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK (8255) or chat at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
*Press 1 for Veterans or military members.

Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1 or Text 838255

Hope4NC Helpline  Call 1-888-587-3463 or text “hope”  

Hope4Healers Helpline  916-226-2002 

NC4Vets 844-NC4-VETS or 844-624-8387 

The Trevor Project Lifeline
1-866-488-7386 or Text “START” to 678678

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-4673

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233

Find help for a mental health and substance use crisis in your county.

Additional state resources.

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