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How COVID-19 Is Affecting People Living With A Mental Illness

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A new study on mental health care suggests a dearth of providers willing to accept insurance. (Rebecca Plevin/ KPCC)
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The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health, as we’re forced to limit face-to-face interaction and hole up at home under state and local orders aimed at slowing the rate of infection.

That psychological toll can be especially hard for people living with a mental illness.

“We’ve received a lot more crisis calls from family members, but also from people living with mental illness asking for resources of any kind,” said Brittany Wiessman, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in L.A. County.

Weissman said it doesn’t help that many patients are having their in-person clinical sessions upended.

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Dr. Curley Bonds, Chief Medical Officer for the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, said many mental health providers have switched over to tele-health appointments.

But he’s concerned that some psychiatric facilities may be shutting their doors to in-patient care. He told us:

“We have heard some reports that a few of these facilities have said, ‘We’re not taking on new patients right now.’”

He’s also worried what the economic downturn from the pandemic could mean for non-profits that were already struggling to provide mental health services.

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