mental health

Breaking The Stigma: How The Pandemic Has Helped People Open Up About Mental Health Struggles

4 hours ago
Kansas News Service

The psychological toll of the coronavirus pandemic is undeniable. At the height of lockdowns last spring, one in three Americans displayed signs of clinical depression or anxiety, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There’s no way to predict or quantify the long-term impact of this collective suffering, but experts say people are now discussing their mental health and wellbeing more freely than before the pandemic, providing a chance to break down some of the stigma that has long surrounded mental illness.

Madeline Deabler / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

After a year of navigating the disruptions fostered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring of 2021 promises to be the start of a cautious reopening.

But mental health experts say the wounds of the past year could remain with us for quite some time.

Kansas News Service

While the pandemic will be remembered as a major public health crisis, it was a significant mental health emergency as well.

It’s not a good time to be 93 years old, says DeAnn Triboulet, director of the Augusta Senior Center.

Triboulet recently talked by phone with a friend that age who has family and lots of other friends but whose social interactions have been limited for health reasons during the pandemic. Many older adults enjoy even less social connections than her friend, Triboulet said, making it imperative that people reach out to them.

Sometimes, Becky Angell doesn’t even realize she’s started crying.

She’s been a nurse for seven years, and worked in an intensive care unit in Olathe for the past two. She loves her job and is used to seeing people die.

But the past months of caring for one desperately ill COVID-19 patient after another have left her overwhelmed and in tears at the dinner table and on the drive home from work.

KMUW/File photo

A team that responds to emergency calls involving mental health crisis situations in Sedgwick County now has the support to continue beyond a trial run.

Monette Johnson wants her husband, Chuck, to see another of the wheat harvests that have been so central to his life.

His career centered around grain elevators and wheat sales. Now in hospice care in Lindsborg, Kansas, he misses those golden fields.

So Monette recruited a family friend to Skype with him during harvest so Chuck can enjoy the scenery.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Activists and citizens from Dodge City to the Kansas City suburbs are reconsidering the involvement of police in their communities — including whether officers should continue to help respond to mental health crises.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the current coronavirus outbreak, and the disruptions to daily life can take a toll on someone’s mental health.

Mental Health Association of South-Central Kansas spokesman Eric Littwiler says clinicians there are, understandably, seeing a lot of cases of anxiety and depression.

"I think people are feeling like the world they’re used to is just shifting underneath their feet," he says, "and that creates that anxiety and creates that depression even for people who haven’t dealt with it in the past."

Deborah Shaar / KMUW/File photo

Crisis care in the Wichita area is about to undergo a major overhaul.

A new plan released Thursday lays out the steps to improving mental health and substance abuse services over the next five years.

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