The following message was sent to the Editors of newspapers in Monmouth and Ocean counties:
The impact of the pandemic on our mental health cannot be overstated. Recent studies have shown an increase of suspected drug overdoses of over 18%, and the frequency of alcohol consumption has risen by close to 20 percent in the United States. In the last 6 months, it was reported that over 36% of New Jerseyans are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, compared to 11% a year ago.
The fear of becoming ill or our loved ones becoming ill, job security and concerns, social isolation, the inability to congregate and celebrate in groups, watching and worrying day after day – all impact our emotional health. Increases in regular alcohol use and drug use are also causing issues in families, with relationships, and with day-to-day living.
As you prepare for the upcoming holidays, make taking care of your mental health a priority. Spend time on self-care, take time to find activities that relax you, and remember that this is a temporary situation.
Consider reaching out for professional help if you are suffering from lingering or severe feelings of anxiety or depression, or if your alcohol or drug use has increased during this time. Help is available. Preferred Behavioral Health Group has been serving our community’s mental health and substance use needs for over 40 years and we continue to be there through this pandemic. You can easily get help without leaving your home, with telehealth services available 7 days a week. We also offer medication assessments, group therapy, support for seniors, and counseling for children and families, all offered remotely. We can be reached at 732-367-4700 or www.preferredbehavioral.org.
This is a difficult time for all of us. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it is one of the bravest moves you can make.
Mary Pat Angelini, Chief Executive Officer