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* Hampton City News

Posted on: June 23, 2021

"Covid Aftermath: Addressing Mental Health" topic of Facebook forum June 29

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June 23, 2021 - Covid cases have decreased dramatically, businesses have reopened, and vaccinated people aren't wearing masks. But for people struggling with depression, addiction or other mental health issues spurred by Covid, life isn't getting back to normal.

Mayor Donnie Tuck will host a forum with local experts to discuss the effects of Covid on mental health. Residents who may be suffering - or know someone who is - can learn how to get help. Members of the public are invited to pose questions to the panel: 

  • Anthony Crisp, director of addiction and recovery treatment services at the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board;
  • Dr. Bruce Copeland, coordinator of social work services for Hampton City Schools; and
  • Betsy Clark, children’s services administrator for Hampton's Human Services Department

More than 42% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau in December reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, an increase from 11% the previous year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related  to COVID-19. Overdoses have also spiked since the onset of the pandemic.

There are many factors that affected mental health: Loneliness and isolation brought on by social distancing; financial worries from job losses and business closures; anxiety about getting infected and/or losing a loved one; and family pressures.

Much like the pandemic itself, the effects on mental illness affected some groups disproportionately.  Higher rates of depression and anxiety have been reported by young adults, people who lost jobs, people with chronic medical conditions, people with lower incomes, people of color, essential workers, parents of schoolchildren, and caregivers for older family members. Most studies focused on adults; there is less known about the effects on children and teens. 

The forum will air on the city’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HamptonVA) as a live event on Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m.

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