Mental Health America (MHA) is a national community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those with mental illness — the local chapter is MHA of WNY.
The organization offers free, science-based and anonymous screening for symptoms of mental illness to the public.
Since MHA launched the tool in 2014, approximately 1 million individuals complete the screening process each year, making it the largest data sample from people who are seeking mental health help.
In a report released August 11, MHA states that over a quarter million people screened positive for depression or anxiety since the start of the pandemic.
“This reflects how pervasive mental health conditions are becoming in the general population as a result of the pandemic,” said Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO. “We are asking all elected officials and candidates for office this year to talk about mental health, to stress its importance, to favor policies that provide access to mental health services and supports across the spectrum.”
MHA screening respondents cited loneliness, isolation, current events and financial problems as reasons for their negative mental health.
Additionally, severe mental health conditions appear to be rising: more than 42,000 people have also experienced symptoms of emerging psychosis, according to the report.
“We need to bend the curve of these numbers, and we need to do it today – before emerging conditions become Stage 4 crises,” Gionfriddo said.
There are resources available, visit www.mhanational.org.
For a local WNY resource guide, visit MHA of WNY.