DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– Sunday is World Mental Health Day and some health leaders say as we approach nearly two years fighting the coronavirus pandemic, mental health concerns are spiking among Ohioans of all ages. Experts say 50-percent of most mental health illnesses start by age 14. With many changes in lifestyles, routines and health concerns, the focus should be shifting to addressing mental health.
“So we have something already brewing, and that is people who are vaccinated versus people who are not vaccinated and the fear and anxiety of being around people who might shed the disease and cause me to catch covid,” said Executive Director ADAMHS, Helen Jones-Kelley.
Some experts believe the pandemic caused a distinct division among people, the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. Additionally, they say people have suffered the most through isolation and limited face-to-face interactions.
“One of the biggest things we need to be concerned about is that so many people have worked remotely and have a set routine and now they’re going to be asked to return to the office,” said Jones-Kelley.
With constant changes over the past 19 months, experts are encouraging people to maintain healthy and stable relationships and keep communication open.
“The biggest thing we have to take away from this is going at your own rate, set your own rate and do what you’re comfortable with,” said Medical Director Atrium Medical Center Behavioral Health, Dr. Jonathan Lazzara.
Even with a world changing at a fast pace, mental health experts encourage people to establish their new normal and return to old routines at their own pace. Right now, mental health concerns at the top of their list is anxiety and depression.
“Does the vaccination even work ? Why am I still having to wear a mask if the vaccinations I got are supposed to work? Do the other vaccinations cause more problems than others? These are the general concerns that are associated with anxiety and depression.” said Dr. Lazzara.
In order to battle mental health concerns, Ohio Masonic Home is using past experiences to be prepared. They’ve conservatively reopened facilities to visitors, but their Pandemic Plan allows them to shut down within 30 minutes and distribute PPE to protect staff and residents. Ohio Masonic staff says the pandemic has brought drastic change to day-to-day operations, but are battling worries with a concrete plan.
“We became so regimented in how we lived our life everyday in the pandemic,” said Executive Director Tony Berardi. “The staff is prepared, they’re educated, we continuously educate and we can execute our pandemic plan at any point.”
According to the Coronavirus Dashboard, the state is nearing 55-percent of eligible Ohioans who have started the vaccination process.