It’s a stressful time to be a New Yorker. People are stuck at home, worrying about their health, their family and their paycheck.
So it’s no surprise organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City have seen a surge in calls from people looking to talk with someone.
"We are seeing a lot of calls related to anxiety and stress that people are experiencing today," said Matt Kudish, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC.
The organization says the number of callers seeking help has jumped 60% over the last few weeks, and that conversations now last about 15 minutes longer than average.
The city says it’s also seeing an increase in demand. Web sessions to its NYC Well service jumped 185 percent last month to more than 81,000.
"We’re hearing from people who are worried about their own physical health, they're worried about their mental health being forced to stay socially distant from other people," Kudish said.
It’s also been difficult time for those who suffer severe mental illness. The Institute for Community Living, an organization helping low-income residents with conditions like schizophrenia, says it has had to overhaul how it treats patients. In some cases its talking to them by phone or outside on a park bench. The institute's chief medical officer says one concern is that the need for social isolation might set back patients who were already fearful of leaving their homes.
"It tells folks whose natural inclination is to isolate to isolate, and we hope that when this is over, they will be able to re-engage with those community engagement efforts," said Dr. Jeanie Tse, chief medical officer of the Institute for Community Living.
Health care providers predict that even when the coronavirus crisis ends, the mental health crisis will continue. They say people will continue to be anxious - this time about leaving home and being convinced it’s safe to be outside.