Health officials worry about mental health due to COVID-19, now smoke

VIDEO: Smoke along with pandemic is taking a toll on mental health

SEATTLE — On Thursday, local and state health officials drew attention to the growing mental health concerns in Washington state.

They say in the six months since the pandemic started, they’ve seen a spike in mental health cases.

“We’ve seen depression increase 69% between late April to mid-July in Washington state. The highest levels of depression are amongst those who have lost employment or live with somebody who has lost employment,” said Marguerite Ro, chief of the Assessment, Policy Development Unit at Public Health Seattle and King County. The King County Public Health Board met to discuss the issue on Thursday.

Content Continues Below

Later that day, Gov. Jay Inslee held a news conference to draw attention to growing concerns about mental health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all feel this dark, oppressive cloud about an inch and a half over our heads,” said Inslee, “COVID has been with us more than six month, and that’s an impact on mental health. We also know it’s normal not to feel OK during a pandemic.”

Mental health experts said resilience is the most common outcome of a disaster, but it is normal to feel depressed as the pandemic is stretching on month after month.

They hope anyone feeling overwhelmed or depressed reaches out for help.

You can reach Washington Listens at 833-681-0211 for help. If you are in crisis right now, call 1-866-4-CRISIS to reach Crisis Connections.