Mental health services seeing increased demand since pandemic began
KITCHENER -- Local organizations offering mental health services say they're seeing an increase in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spread of COVID-19 has remained fairly stable in Waterloo Region, but stress related to the pandemic has impacted people's mental health.
"People are reaching out and are needing more support," said Jennifer Jackson, program manager at Lutherwood.
Jackson said demand for services dropped at the start of the pandemic due to closures, but has picked up lately.
"In the last month, between September and October, in the service areas like Quick Access, we've seen numbers of clients almost double," she said.
She said she's also concerned for people who may be suffering in silence.
"The pandemic is affecting us all," Jackson said. "There's struggles that everyone is having as a result. You're not along, know that there's help out there in different places."
Jackson added that children's routines have been impacted by the pandemic.
"Although we've restored some of that in the return to school, there's still a lot of changes for kids to navigate," she said.
A new federal report highlighted an increase in alcohol and drug abuse during the pandemic, including more opioid deaths.
Overdose calls to police in Waterloo Region have trended higher since August and the number of overdose deaths so far this year, 68, has already surpassed the 63 deaths in 2019.
The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington branch said its seen a 30 per cent increase in calls to its help line. Its phone line, 1-844-HERE247, is available for anyone in crisis.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.
Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645), Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-833-456-4566) or Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.