WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The holidays bring cheer for many people. However, it can cause a lot of pressure, stress, anxiety, and sadness for many others.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there has been a 30% jump in Americans dying from overdoses this year, with more than 100,000 deaths. Addiction and mental health advocates said the holidays don’t help.
“We get a lot of additional substance abuse issues, which in turn continues to make the mental health issues more problematic as well,” said Heath Bechler, the president and CEO of Mirror Inc.
Bechler said 2021 has been a busy year for those needing addiction resources. The organization has assisted more than 3,000 patients and has extra staff prepared for the holidays.
“A lot of things are getting back to more normal. But, at the same time, holidays are always a challenge, especially for those that have lost loved ones,” said Bechler.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said that law enforcement has already begun to see an uptick in addiction and mental health calls related to the holidays.
“It’s something that we see out on the streets with the call loads that we’re seeing, and we definitely see it inside the facility,” said Sheriff Easter.
Sheriff Easter hopes individuals reach out for help before they find themselves in a crisis. Friends and family can also play a significant role.
Michelle Calvert, the director of Quality at Comcare, says that there are a few things you can be on the lookout for in regards to mental health: withdrawal, acting out of character by doing things they normally wouldn’t, and tearing up.
“Just be actively supportive of people who are in the midst of an active addiction, active substance misuse, but then also to be responsive for people who are interested in getting out of that and getting treatment, seeking treatment,” said Bechler.
Just this year, Mirror has opened up a drop-in assessment center in Wichita to help those with immediate needs. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, you can call Comcare at 316-660-7500 or call 911.