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Getting Answers: How to help those suffering from substance abuse during pandemic

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(WKOW) -- According to behavioral health specialists, there has been an uptick in substance abuse cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Typically it is a coping mechanism that people use to deal with other mental health issues like depression or anxiety," said Don Knight, the director of Behavioral Health at Community Health Systems of Wisconsin. "The fact that COVID-19 is is keeping people in their homes and they're not able to get out increases their depression, their anxiety, their paranoia in some cases."

Because people have to stay away from each other in order to be safe from the coronavirus, that puts others in danger of falling into old habits because they don't have their normal support networks to lean on.

"Even though we are not able to make physical contact a lot of times with people, it's very important to make that phone contact or in some way let them know that we're still there for them, that we can help them talk through their own insecurities that they're having with when these times being so trying," said Knight.

He said some signs of depression include cutting yourself off from loved ones or just being sad in general. These could be warning signs that your loved one may be in a downward spiral.

CHS Wisconsin is continuing to offer mental health services through virtual visits they set up with clients. If you don't have access to a smartphone or computer, they also have a virtual office set up at the clinic.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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