Mental health even more of a concern during pandemic-affected holiday season

Mental health experts say the holidays are usually difficult for people who may already be struggling with depression, anxiety and isolation. But this year presents challenges like nothing anyone has experienced before.

News 12 Staff

Dec 23, 2020, 10:49 PM

Updated 1,278 days ago

Share:

With the added stress this holiday season to what can already be a tough time of year for some, Nassau officials are reminding residents of services for those looking for help.
Mental health experts say the holidays are usually difficult for people who may already be struggling with depression, anxiety and isolation.  But this year presents challenges like nothing anyone has experienced before.
Jamie Bogenshutz, executive director of the YES Community Counseling Center, says we all have a lot on our plate.  From staying healthy during a pandemic, business owners struggling to stay afloat, people desperate to stay employed or find a job and much more -- it hasn't been easy.
"This is one of those instances in time where everyone is affected. For someone who's already fragile, that can be a tipping point," says Bogenshutz.
And for others who seemed like they were doing OK – this year is presenting unique challenges that can be overwhelming to anyone.  
"They were stable, they were OK, they were paying their bills and now they find themselves in a very, very different world and that has also become very overwhelming for some of them. And because of that they really don't know how to reach out," says Bogenshutz.
Stephanie Ryan, of Wantagh, says she never thought she'd admit to having anxiety. She's a mother of five and a part-time teacher.
"Everyone thinks that everyone's life is perfect," says Ryan. "They see beautiful kids having fun and parents doing so much, but deep down inside you have this feeling that you just don't know how to get rid of and I was feeling sick and worried and anxious."
One official says some, instead of asking for help, may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping.
"This year as many are forced to spend the holidays away from their families and deal with the financial and emotion stress of the pandemic, there is the possibility we will see an increase in those needing help with alcohol and drug dependence," says Massapequa Legislator James Kennedy.
Ryan's advice is to ask for help, and to not be embarrassed about it. She took a stress management class that taught her skills she uses consistently.
Those seeking help in Nassau can call 516-679-1111. In Suffolk the number is 631-751-7500.



More from News 12