RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The pandemic is trudging ahead, weighing heavy on people's mental health and what they're turning to in order to cope with the resurgence has health professionals concerned.
Dr. Mehul Mankad, Chief Medical Officer for Alliance Health, said he's seen an uptick in substance use and therefore overdoses.
"Understandably, people are frustrated," said Mankad. "They are angry. They are disillusioned. Many people are in denial or disbelief."
At the same time, Mankad said telehealth visits have declined, despite their proved effectiveness for mental health evaluations and services.
"I think what we're seeing is a triggering of the frustration and anxiety and anger that people had initially," he said. "But there is a sense of fatigue that comes with all of this. Every time people go back to the pain that they experienced in the past, it brings an added weight and burden with it."
Mankad said more people are turning up in emergency rooms for mental health crises, the right place, he said for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts.
"For everybody else, there are better ways, more effective ways, more compassionate ways for them to engage in mental health care," he said.
Behavioral health urgent care clinics are located across the Triangle.
Mankad applauded the recent actions of sports icons such as Simone Biles for placing priority on their mental health.
"The shame and stigma related to raising your hand and saying I am not having a good day today, is going down," he said.
Mankad said if you are unsure of whether you need to seek mental health support, first ask yourself if you are doing as well as you can; if you can't answer that question, turn to close friends or family and ask them how they think you're doing and if that's not enough, seek a one-time evaluation.
Alliance Health's 24-hour toll-free access and information line is (800) 510-9132.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services' Hope 4 NC line is (855) 587-3463.