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UW Health psychologist weighs in on CDC COVID-19 mental health report

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Many Madison mental health clinics have months-long waitlists as providers struggle to meet demand

Many Madison mental health clinics have months-long waitlists as providers struggle to meet demand.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health.

The report showed that across the country, anxiety and depression symptoms corresponded with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases.

The report says the largest increase was between last August and this February in adults ages 18-29, and those with less than a high school education.

The report highlights anxiety and depression levels for most states peaking during this past December and January.

In the UW Health system, Psychologist Dr. Greg Rogers says they have also experienced a large number of patients seeking mental health services.

“What we've seen is that it's been a pretty unrelenting demand for services for stress related to the pandemic. Anxiety and depressive symptoms. Grief and loss and we're just managing it as best as we can," said Rogers.

Rogers says one of the reasons for the stress and depression levels is the deaths from the pandemic.

He says new data shows up to a quarter of the 700,000 COVID-19 related deaths are associated with a child losing a caregiver.

"Statistics like that just kind of drive home the fact that we are seeing loss and grief on a scale that we've never seen before,” said Rogers.

Rogers says anyone experiencing stress and depression should be honest with themselves, and with loved ones that they are struggling.

He adds it's also important to be aware of any changes to how a person is functioning, and make a plan to get help to address that.

Rogers notes they are also seeing an uptick in suicidal patients during the pandemic.

If you or a loved one are struggling, you're encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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