As Pandemic Stresses Continue To Rise, Experts Say Mental Health Support Is More Important Than Ever

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Uncertainties surrounding jobs, housing and childcare because of the coronavirus is creating an unprecedented amount of mental health concerns and unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

“A lot more people are having panic attacks, crying, weeping more, just our bodies feeling achy," said Alexa James, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago.

She said people are drinking more and isolating themselves, which can lead to unhealthy ways of dealing with all the stress — and eating more without exercising is also a toxic combination. 

With relationships also started to be impacted, James said mental wellness is more important now than ever.

“That wasn’t on the forefront of people’s minds and so now we’re asking people to really dig in and start to heal and cope during a time when they already feel stressed.” 

NAMI Chicago has already received more calls for mental health support in the past six months than in all of 2019. 

James said the dramatic increase in stress and anxiety is perfectly normal, but shouldn’t go unaddressed.

“If you’re feeling these symptoms, that’s your body’s way of telling you it is time to raise this issue and connect to somebody to help you find some help.” 

NAMI Chicago’s helpline is available seven days a week at (833) 626-4244.