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An unprecedented mental health toll: COVID-19 drives surge in crisis line calls, therapy wait lists | In-depth [Video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – As the coronavirus pandemic spread last year, calls to suicide prevention hotlines surged across Kentucky and Indiana. In the Louisville area, the number of people at urgent risk of taking their own lives more than doubled.

Mental health advocates saw a nearly fourfold increase in assessments in Kentucky. In Indiana's southern counties, nearly half of all screenings for depression, anxiety and other symptoms since 2015 happened within the last year.

Census Bureau surveys show that residents of Kentucky and Indiana often had higher-than-average levels of anxiety and depression in the U.S in 2020. And as recently as this month, 35 percent of Kentuckians reported such symptoms – the No. 2 rate nationally, trailing only Arkansas.

That snapshot of available data hints at the immediate mental health toll from the pandemic, although experts caution it will take time to fully understand the wide-ranging effects of job losses, fractured social networks …

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