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With no end in sight, the mental health consequences of COVID-19 are starting to manifest. The country’s weak mental health system may not be able to meet rising demand. Even before the pandemic, half of adults with mental illness did not receive treatment, according to NAMI which has seen calls to its helpline rise by 40% during the pandemic. “The mental health curve is going to have a long tail,” said Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI. “When life finally returns to normal, the following year will not be a good one for mental health.”
Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI discusses the mental health impact of the pandemic and vulnerabilities that are increasing anxiety and depression. When should you reach out for help and what resources are available?
Reports that one month into the quarantine, the kinds of mental health crises people are experiencing are changing and evolving as the pandemic wears on. “I think everybody has started to realize that we're in a chronic reality as opposed to an acute reality,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of NAMI and an assistant clinical professor at Harvard University Medical School. “I think we're just getting into a new normal of this, which is going to be ongoing.”
An experimental drug may ease schizophrenia symptoms, without the side effects of existing medications, an early clinical trial suggests. Over one month, the drug helped manage a range of symptoms -- from delusions and hallucinations, to flattened emotions and social withdrawal. The drug, dubbed SEP-363856, also appeared to avoid the side effects common with standard antipsychotic medications. Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO of NAMI said, "I'm glad to see they're investing in a drug with a new mechanism of action. And I'm cautiously optimistic about it."
Video segment of CBSN Bay Area's Kenny Choi talks with Ken Duckworth, MD with NAMI and Carolyn Merrell, Global Head of Policy Programs at Instagram. They talk about what the social media site connecting users to resources from experts during this challenging time.
We have more time on our hands and we're eager to connect with people through video conferencing and social media. Instagram knows this, and the platform has partnered with NAMI for a week of sharing resources. They’re asking experts and influencers to offer advice on how they’re taking care of themselves during COVID-19. “This pandemic affects everyone and I mean everyone,” Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO at NAMI says. “At NAMI we say 'you are not alone,' and it has never been more true than now."
On Wednesday, Joel Weber, Businessweek editor-in-chief, and Cynthia Koons, Bloomberg reporter, hosted a virtual town hall that aired live on YouTube and Facebook. The first segment focused on the increased need for telemedicine with the Chief Medical Officers from both Talkspace and Brightside. The second segment featured Dr. Ken Duckworth, CMO, NAMI and Dr. Christine Moutier, CMO, AFSP and focused on the larger issues around mental health and access to care. The third segment included everyone and they answered questions from the audience.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well. Already, NAMI, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country, has increased staffing on its helpline to from 10 to 40 volunteers in order to keep up with increased demand, said Dr. Ken Duckworth, the group’s chief medical officer. “The volume is substantially up. People are anxious, and people are looking for support.”
The COVID-19 outbreak is creating increased demand for mental health services — lots of people are feeling anxious or getting depressed. At the same time, traditional mental health services have been disrupted. In-person sessions are not possible, nor are group sessions. We take a look at mental health services and what people are doing to stay well during these difficult times. The episode includes Dawn Brown, director of community engagement for NAMI, discussing NAMI’s guide for dealing with the fallout of COVID-19.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741