Available data show that more youths are seeking help for mental health related distress this year than in 2019, according to officials at Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
Nevada State Mental Health Authority Stephanie Woodard joined today’s statewide COVID-19 update with Caleb Cage, the state’s COVID-19 response director, and Julia Peek, deputy administrator of Community Health Services, to discuss the emotional and psychological impacts of COVID-19.
Sustained isolation from peers and a difficult online learning environment is causing “chronic stress” for many, said Woodard.
How we socialize, study, recreate and work — most facets of life have been negatively impacted throughout Nevada communities due to COVID-19, she added. Loss of jobs, loved ones and housing, food insecurity, financial instability, social isolation, concerns over COVID-19 exposure, managing work from home and schooling children are “all very real examples of significant stressors facing our fellow Nevadans.”
In response, DHHS introduced the Resilience Project in May to help those suffering from mental health crises such as depression, addiction and anxiety. Resources and more information may be found in the Nevada Resilience Project website.
Help for children is also available. The Childrens Mobile Crisis Team operated by the Department of Health and Human Services responds to parents’ and guardians’ calls for help.
The Mobile Crisis Team can be contacted in the following numbers:
- Northern Nevada: (775) 688-1670
- Rural Nevada: (702) 486-7865
- Southern Nevada: (702) 486-7865
- Mental Health CARE Team: (877-283-2437) Answered by CSSN, this service is for adults in Rural Nevada to call and receive immediate therapeutic support and necessary mental health care from wherever they are located.
More information is available at Nevada Resilience Project – Behavioral Health Services – Nevada 211.
Mental health and COVID-19 is also an issue being taken up by Reno City Council, which this week is considering a $1.3 million contract for therapy services through Talkspace. Reno area mental health professionals are proposing those funds be directed to local providers instead, arguing the funds could help build mental health infrastructure in the region and support local business.
Washoe County COVID-19 situation
Cage advised that due to the incubation period of the COVID-19 virus, health officials won’t be able to assess the impact of socializing over the Thanksgiving holiday for a couple of weeks. Projections show hospitals reaching capacity within about two weeks.
Washoe County Health District reported 16 deaths over the four-day holiday weekend and four more on Monday. Numbers as of Monday are reflecting the upward COVID-19 curve reported last week.
- All counties in Nevada, with the exception of Storey, have been flagged for elevated disease transmission.
- All flagged counties met the criteria of a high case rate per 100,000.
- All counties had a high test positivity rate.
- Lincoln was the only county flagged for low testing, with an average number of 84 tests per day per 100,000.
- As of today, Nevada has logged 152,169 cases, an increase of 1,642 new cases since yesterday.
- The state has completed a total of 1,638,099 molecular tests since the beginning of COVID-19.
- For the most recent 7-day period, cases are growing at a rate of 1.6% or 2,277 new cases per day – nearly double the seven-day case average between July 15 and July 21.
- The test positivity rate over the last 14 days is 17.3% — the highest 14-day test positivity rate since the start of the pandemic in Nevada.
Hospital capacity showing signs of strain
According to the Nevada Hospital Association, Nevada continues the upward trajectory in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
There are currently 1,545 COVID-19 hospitalizations (1,405 confirmed; 140 suspected) — a record high in Nevada.
In the south, cases continue to go up. According to the NHA in a press release on Monday, the health care infrastructure has “enough elasticity to absorb the increased cases for the time being. The south has experienced a 275% increase in confirmed hospitalized cases over the past 30 days.”
In the north, there has been more than a 250% increase in confirmed hospitalized cases over the past 30 days. According to the NHA, the northern Nevada health care infrastructure is now showing signs of serious strain with patients being treated in alternative care sites and hospitals functioning under crisis standards of care. More information on hospitalization trends can be found on the Nevada Hospital Association website.
Due to the state’s current “pause” status, the task force will be addressing mitigation efforts at its Dec. 3 meeting through ongoing informational updates and briefings rather than through individual county plans, said a press release by the department.
Sudhiti (Shu) Naskar is a multimedia journalist and researcher who has years of experience covering international issues. In the role of a journalist, she has covered gender, culture, society, environment, and economy. Her works have appeared on BBC, The National, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Reno Gazette-Journal, Caravan and more. Her interests lie in the intersection of art, politics, social justice, education, tech, and culture. She took a sabbatical from media to attend graduate school at the University of Nevada Reno in 2017. In this period, she has won awards, represented her school at an international conference and successfully defended her thesis on political disinformation at the Reynolds School of Journalism where she earned her Master’s in Media Innovation.