State providing mental health support for Nebraskans during pandemic

Published: May. 19, 2021 at 9:46 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 9:49 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Mental health has become a wider conversation since the pandemic started. Whether it be stress about the virus, work or finances, many Americans have been mentally affected over the past year.

According to the CDC, four out of 10 adults in the United States have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic. According to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, there was a 74-percent increase in the number of calls into the Nebraska Family Helpline over the last year.

Even though things are improving, Nebraskans could still begin feeling overwhelmed.

“When you talk about any disaster event and then you have one like a pandemic when people don’t know when it’s going to end, you don’t see mental health come all at once like when it starts. It’s usually 12 to 16 months after it happens,” said Mikayla Johnson, Division of Behavioral Health.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is providing resources for people struggling during the pandemic. One of the main goals for the DHHS is stopping the stigma. They say all of us have felt the impacts of COVID-19, and it’s okay to not be okay.

Since the pandemic started, there have been more than 1,800 new families call the Nebraska Family Helpline. Some of the normal challenges Nebraskans have experienced include anxiety, fearfulness and hopelessness.

While Nebraskans are known for their resilience, the division of Behavioral Health says asking for help is still important.

“We’re a polite society, you see somebody on the street that maybe you work with or a friend of yours and you say, how are you doing? I’m fine, I’m fine, everyone says they’re fine and if you’re fine that’s great, but if we’re not fine we need to tell folks that I’m not doing so well,” said Bernie Hascall, Division of Behavioral Health.

Experts explained that sometimes just listening and connecting with people is the most help a person can give.

For more information on the services offered by the DHHS, you can check out their website here. For immediate help you can always call their helpline 888-866-8660.

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