BOSTON — Boston 25 News is committed to getting real about the mental health crisis facing our area. A common concern right now: it’s hard to find help.
A study from Boston University researchers published this year in The Lancet sheds light on the scope of the need. The researchers found that 32.8% of people surveyed in March of 2021 reported “elevated depressive symptoms.” That’s compared with 27.8% found in a survey during the spring of 2020. Before the pandemic hit, the rate was just 8.5%.
That’s nearly a three-fold increase of people who may need treatment.
“What we found was that 1/3 of the country of us adults are reporting symptoms of depression,” said Catherine Ettman, Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives at
Boston University School of Public Health. Ettman co-authored the study.
“We also found that severity was increasing. So more people were reporting more symptoms,” Ettman said.
According to Ettman, the biggest risk factors included:
- Low income
- Not being married
- Losing loved ones during the pandemic
Boston 25 News reached out to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Massachusetts, to learn more about what options are available for those seeking help.
Annabel Lane, President of the NAMI Board, had suggestions for those struggling.
CALL THE NAMI COMPASS HELPLINE
Lane’s first suggestion: Call the NAMI Mass Compass Helpline.
“People can call and talk through what they’re going through, they’ll help you navigate the system understand your options, especially if you’re not really sure what kind of help you might need,” Lane said.
VISIT A FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER
Lane says there’s a resource center in every county in the state.
“Overall, those are good places where they can help you kind of apply for different resources that you might be eligible for, but not know about,” Lane said.
EXPAND YOUR SEARCH
Lane says you don’t have to be limited to the clinics in your direct area, you can look outside your area for a telehealth provider if that’s something you’re comfortable with.
TRY A SUPPORT GROUP
Lane also noted that therapy and medication may not be the answer for everyone and that some may benefit from a support group setting.
“It’s just people connecting with other people, that can be really helpful to just be around other people who are going through similar things,” Lane said.
For a link to all of the resources above, visit NAMI Mass.
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