For more than a year, New Yorkers have seen their lifestyles turned upside down by the coronavirus. Though the pandemic is not new, some say they still can’t get used to the face masks, social distancing, and restrictions.
“For me, not depression because I’m not the sort of person that gets depression, but definitely anxiety. There’s too much uncertainty about everything. I think a lot of people are having something called pandemic fatigue. Everyone is just sick of it,” said Marcelo de Antunano.
Experts say the uncertainty and isolation is taking a toll on mental health.
A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation said that, during the pandemic, four in 10 adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. That’s up from one in 10 adults who reported the same symptoms less than a year ago. That increased to one in three amongst COVID-19 survivors, who are also more likely to be diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder, according to experts.
“Withdrawal, not getting pleasure from things they like doing, disturbances to sleep, changes in appetite, changes in mood. I would say it if it’s gone on longer than two weeks, you may want to think about talking to somebody,” said Dr. Aspasia Hotzoglou, Ph.D. The licensed psychologist with the American Institute of Cognitive Therapy says more needs to be done to increase access to care. She joined Senator Charles Schumer as he called on the quick release of federal funding for mental health support.
“So what we did is put $5 billion in this bill to deal with that issue through an existing federal agency called Samhsa, but it will go directly to organizations throughout New York, so they can reach capacity,” said Senator Schumer.
The funds were already secured in the recently passed COVID relief bill. The lawmaker is urging his colleagues in Washington to speed up the process to get it to New Yorkers who need the help.