CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A disturbing trend is emerging as more people get back into their everyday lives during the pandemic, and mental health concerns are at an all-time high.
As anxiety and depression rates soar, health care providers say if you notice a few things that aren't typical for you, it might be time for a mental health check.
"My whole life, I've been trying to release this thing where I'm trying to please other people, all that kind of stuff. Turns out that that always equals anxiety, depression, all that kind of stuff," Allen Cruz said.
Cruz says, as with many of us in the pandemic, his people-pleasing skills got stressed out, so he reached out for professional support.
"It's the same thing: You go to a doctor to just get a checkup. There's nothing wrong with going to a therapist or counselor every once in a while to just get a checkup, even if you dont feel bad," he said.
Those checkups might also help us help others. Recent violent events, such as the Independence Day shooting in Illinois remind us, according to psychologist Dr. Allison Mecca, that mental health concerns clearly are a public health problem.
"We really want to keep an eye out for the people that we love. If we start seeing them withdrawing from things that they typically enjoy doing, feeling a little bit more sick or physically ill or complaining of feeling sick or physically ill, if you start noticing a change in their mood, maybe more irritable, it's probably a good time to say, 'Hey, I should probably check and see how this person is doing,' because all of us are going through a lot right now. We're going to get through it if we stay together and look out for each other," Dr. Mecca said.
Cruz said his mental health checkup helped him slow his daily pace, find what fulfilled him and realize he can't do life alone. He says if seeing someone in person isn't in your comfort zone, you can also get a virtual mental health check online.
"The mind is an important thing. It controls everything," he said.
Those virtual visits are likely to be covered by medical insurance plans and may lower the wait times for a check-in or checkup.