Mental health issues related to the pandemic begin to return with COVID-19 backslide

NOW: Mental health issues related to the pandemic begin to return with COVID-19 backslide

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With rising COVID-19 cases, other issues being caused by COVID-19 are on the rise too.

Mental health specialists said they're already seeing more issues like they saw last year.

Mental health specialists said in some cases, the rise in mental health issues never stopped, but as things like mask-wearing and vaccination requirements kick back in, things could get worse.

"It was a bit of a honeymoon phase that people felt like gosh we're on the other side of this, only to have the Delta variant come out," said UW Health Psychologist Dr. Shilagh Mirgain.

She said substance abuse, unwanted weight gain, abnormal sleep patterns, depression and anxiety are all things they got used to seeing last year, and now it could come back.

"With a new wave of cases and now mask mandates being encouraged in various states and counties, and local places, but people are going to feel that rise in stress," said Dr. Mirgain.

At Rogers Behavioral Health, Dr. Jerry Halverson said as the pandemic rolls back, they expect to see more issues, which he said never really went away.

"We all had a taste of what we missed from regular life, and now that that's being threatened, I think people are obviously concerned. And it brings back a lot of the trauma, frankly, of what people experienced over the past year and a half," said Dr. Halverson.

Dr. Halverson said another issue is having enough people to take care of those in need, as their organization has been hit hard by the employment crisis as well.

"We've tried to open more programs and more slots, and there's just more people to take those physicians," said Dr. Halverson.

He said if you are facing a mental health crisis, reaching out for help, even just to family and friends, is a must.

"It's, it's certainly very understandable for people to be dealing with these types of issues and, you know, help is out there."

Both Dr. Halverson and Dr. Mirgain said if you need to speak with someone, a good place to start is with your primary care physician.

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