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Valley hospitals seeing a spike in patients with depression and addiction during the pandemic

Hospitals across the U.S. are seeing a spike in patients with depression and substance abuse amid the pandemic.

"It's unfortunate that last year was our busiest year in the five years that we've been open," said Ken Seeley, founder of the Ken Seeley Rehab Center in Palm Springs.

Seeley says that since the pandemic started, they've seen their number of clients increase by more than 30%.

Te pandemic causing unprecedented stress between job loss, financial hardships, death of loved ones, and simply, the isolation.

"The drugs and the alcohol are filling that void of not having human connection and then what happens is we cross the line from abuse to addiction," Seeley said.

Seeley says both alcohol and marijuana sales are up.

"It's something to cope with the anxiety, the fear of the unknown, and the pain that they're going through," Seeley said.

As a result, people are ending up in emergency rooms.

"We're seeing an increase in drug and alcohol use…I think we've seen more depression actually than anything else," said Dr. Euthym Kontaxis, medical director of the Eisenhower Tennity Emergency Department.

Addiction, overdoses, suicide attempts and concerning trends when it comes to young patients.

"That's the thing that's bothersome. We're seeing it in teenagers and very young," Kontaxis said.

Issues all exacerbated by the fact that so many here in the valley have lost their health insurance.

"They're figuring how do I go to treatment? How do I find the resources necessary to pay for treatment?," Seeley said.

The Centers for Disease Control said that last year, 40% of us adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use. 13% increased substance use. 11% seriously considered suicide.

Local health professionals urging those affected to reach out.

"Saying you don't need help is the weak way around this. Saying you need help is the strong way," Seeley said.

You can learn more about the Ken Seeley Rehab Center at https://www.kenseeleyrehab.com/

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Jesus Reyes

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