Mental health worsens, suicides spike as pandemic drags on

By October 27, 2020

USA (MNN) — A new report confirms what experts warned all along – the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a serious mental health crisis. See our full coronavirus coverage here.

The pandemic is “a significant source of stress” for 80-percent of U.S. adults, the American Psychological Association found. One-in-five say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year. See the full report here.

“The thing with the pandemic [is] it has isolated people. [Isolation is] Satan’s number one trick,” Dean Vander Mey of Set Free Ministries says.

“God created us to be relational. Loving God and loving others is the essence of life, according to Jesus.”

Dr. John Greden, founder and director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, says pandemic-related stressors compound mental illnesses. “Some people have preexisting depression, bipolar and anxiety conditions. They are intensified because of the pandemic, job loss, social isolation, and sleep disturbances,” he explains.

“We have a collision of things underway. The combination is toxic.”

coronavirus, isolation, alone

(Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash)

Simultaneously, fatal overdose and suicide rates hit record highs in many states. Fatal opioid overdoses between March and September in Michigan were 15-percent higher than the same period last year. In one month, Kentucky saw nearly as many overdose deaths as it had during all of 2019.

Care facilities are overbooked throughout the country.

“We have people calling Set Free Ministries and some are suicidal. We say, ‘You need to get into a mental health facility to get assessed.’ They call back an hour later and say [the facilities are] all full,” Vander Mey says.

“That’s happening not only in Michigan but in other states as well.”

Freedom from fear

The pandemic may have ushered in a dark season, but hope remains. God prepared Set Free Ministries for such a time as this. In April, Set Free mobilized its staff and volunteers with the necessary technology to provide virtual care.

Telehealth may be the silver lining of pandemic restrictions, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. “It’s proven very effective, especially with people locked in their homes,” Vander Mey says.

“We’re connecting with people, not only from West Michigan but from all over the U.S. and now all over the world. It’s really transformed how we do ministry here in the last six months.”

As explained here, Set Free Ministries utilizes a process outlined by Dr. Neil T. Anderson to help troubled believers find freedom through Christ. Hear testimonies from those who’ve found freedom from anxiety, depression, addiction, and more.

“We’re up 35-, 40-percent over last year when it comes to the number of people we’re helping on a weekly basis. This is an amazing opportunity for people to reconnect with God. We use Scripture to reaffirm that, and we’re seeing all kinds of breakthroughs,” Vander Mey says.

“This (the pandemic) is breaking a lot of people of their own strength, and even their own coping mechanisms that are no longer working. Drugs, alcohol, opioid abuse – those are symptoms of a much deeper spiritual and emotional issue that must be resolved.”

Connect with Set Free Ministries here if you, or someone you know, needs help. Pray using the prompts listed alongside this article.



Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Josh Appel on Unsplash.