PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As more people get vaccinated, we all are hoping the COVID-19 crisis will soon end.
But another crisis is holding on to many families.
Mental health professionals are urging people to reach out for help. One local group is working to make that help easier to get.
“We have a number of patients who walk in, every day,” said Ryan McQueen, a doctor with Riverside Health System.
McQueen says that the number of people in mental health crises has steadily increased as the pandemic has dragged on.
“People who’ve never been depressed before are being depressed,” said Jennifer Brooks, admission coordinator for. Riverside Behavioral Health. “People are depressed because of being isolated.”
Brooks is one of the first people you may see if you walk into a Riverside emergency room.
“People that have lost their jobs, people that have lost loved ones,” Brooks said.
Brooks, McQueen, and the mental health team at Riverside say they are ready to help in a variety of ways.
“Therapy, medication management, maybe some type of housing,” said Lisa Quiles, care manager with Riverside Behavioral Health.
But, Alonzo Bell Jr. with 100 Black Men of the Virginia Peninsula, says apparently too many people in crises don’t want to reach out.
“There’s maybe a stigma associated with seeking mental health consultations. And we want to help reduce that,” Bell said.
Bell’s group teamed up with Riverside Health System to host a webinar this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Attendees will be able to talk with mental health professionals and get tips to help spot signs of trouble.
Frances Hicks, a nurse practitioner with Riverside behavioral health says those warning signs can include feeling stressed out, not being able to function, and feeling overwhelmed.
McQueen adds that people who need help can go to the Riverside Regional Medical Center Emergency Room now or call 911 if they urgently need attention.
If you want to talk to attend Saturday’s free webinar, pre-register on the 100 Black Men website.