How the Brazos Valley is coping with rising demand for mental health services
BRYAN, Texas – Counseling services have been in high demand since the pandemic. A local counselor, Cheryl Mikeska, says there is a shortage of counselors to keep up with the need for counseling services. and hopes to break the stigma associated with mental health.
With rising people’s demand for mental health services, a Harvard University study recently found that 77 percent of counties nationwide have a severe shortage of mental health professionals. .
“In March of 2022, the World Health Organization announced that worldwide depression and anxiety had increased by 25 percent,” said Cheryl Mikeska, Licensed Professional Counselor. “I personally never thought I would work or be part of a pandemic.”
He said there is a stigma when discussing the topic of mental health.
“I think before COVID, as we all know, there was a stigma attached to dealing with mental health issues in talking about it in general, but with the challenges presented. at COVID, people find themselves in a more desperate, ready. place to discuss their mental health issues, ”Mikeska said.“ Maybe, that’s the silver line coming from COVID . “
With a huge increase in depression and anxiety, patients in the Brazos Valley outnumber counselors and need to be put on a waitlist.
“We’ve seen an increase in clients before COVID,” Mikeska said. “There are already waiting lists. Since the addition of COVID, waiting lists where people have to drive out of town to find services faster than the services we can offer here have really expanded. ”
Mikeska said the list is even longer for children, but a local mother makes sure her children seek counseling at an early age after feeling trapped and alone during COVID.
“I want to make sure my kids are more emotionally literate than I am,” said Jessica Stubblefield, Counseling patient. “I want them to know that a lot of people are struggling with their mental health and it’s okay to go out and ask for help from someone.”
Stubblefield shares how asking for advice has helped him overcome his daily struggles.
“The pandemic brings with it many other issues that are under the skin class of issues and then being at home all day every day trying to make online schooling first with the kids and then cut off from everything. Isolation only makes everything worse. ”
She said her daughters, who are six and nine years old, believe everyone should have a counselor.
“There’s just so much that people can do,” Stubblefield said. “Everyone is living in crisis management. It’s getting to the point where people will say I need help if I’m going to continue.
Mikeska said talking to someone is the first step. If you prefer counseling services, you can contact your primary care physician for assistance or contact a local counselor.