In the latest installment of his column in the Healthcare Journal of Arkansas, ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened our nation’s previously existing mental health and opioid crises.
“The pandemic has created or exacerbated a plethora of mental health stressors in our daily lives, including isolation and loneliness resulting from social distancing, challenges with child care as schools shifted to remote learning, loss of income as many businesses closed their doors, disruption of routines, uncertainty about the future, worries about our health and the health of our loved ones, inability of families to visit loved ones when in hospitals or nursing homes, and, unfortunately, grief for those we have lost,” he writes.
Thompson points to evidence including a survey showing greater numbers of Americans reporting anxiety or depression, a surge in emergency department visits related to mental health disorders at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and record spikes in overdose deaths in Arkansas and nationwide. He also recommends policy decisions that would help address these crises during the pandemic and beyond it.
If you need help finding a mental health care provider in Arkansas, call the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ AR-Connect at (800) 482-9921. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Find more information about the pandemic on our COVID-19 in Arkansas page.