Trey Kay, Marisa Helms Published

Forced Apart: Shadow Pandemic


COVID-19 has forced millions to stay at home for months. Isolation can feed anxiety and depression and now tens of millions of Americans say that potent combination threatens their mental health.

Us & Them host Trey Kay speaks with mental health providers in West Virginia, as well as the people who’ve sought treatment during the pandemic or who’d like to get some help.

Calls to help centers and suicide hotlines are up in what some call a shadow pandemic. Nearly a quarter of Americans have applied for unemployment insurance since March, when the pandemic forced businesses to shut down and people to stay home.

Studies show a correlation between unemployment and suicide. In the past few months, counselors and therapists have shifted to telehealth, using phone and video chats to connect with patients and clients. Some say the changes offer a new set of clinical options that could change the way we define therapy in the future.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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