FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – COVID-19 is not just causing harm to our physical health, it’s also leading to a major crisis in mental health.

“As a result of COVID-19, many more people are much lonelier than they’ve ever been before,” said Greg Hansch, the executive director for the Texas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Texas).

That’s translated into around a 300% increase in calls to their helpline from March to April.

“This is somewhat of a unique situation where no one really knows when it’s all going to get back to normal, so I think people feel an extra layer of hopelessness during a time like this.”

Hansch said that uncertainty is leading far more people to develop mental disorders. He likened it to a pandemic of its own.

“You don’t see a majority of people experiencing some level of mental health issues under normal circumstances,” he explained. “You do under this level of pandemic.”

The spike isn’t just hitting NAMI’s helpline.

The Disaster Distress helpline, a federal crisis hotline, has also seen a more than 300% increase in calls.

Fueling the problem is the fact that so many have lost those in-person treatments and services they rely on.

There are some steps you can take to help lift yourself up:

– Connect with your support system, either by phone or online.

– Create a daily routine, and include healthy foods and exercise.

– Give yourself a break and take some time to practice relaxing and being present in the moment.

“I think people feel a pressure to stay on top of every piece of information that’s coming out on COVID-19,” Hansch told us. “That makes them feel worried and anxious in a way they’ve often never felt before.”

Numbers you can call:

NAMI Texas: 512-693-2000

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746

Helpful information:

National Alliance of Mental Health Texas

COVID-19 Information and Resource Guide

Disaster Distress Helpline

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