Shrewsbury – While COVID-19 has caused intense feelings of grief, fear and uncertainty for many, there is an equally devastating and deadly situation, rampantly growing: the mental health crisis ravaging our communities, especially for young children and adolescents.
Bereavement, isolation and loss of income are triggering mental health conditions. After battling through nearly a full year of this pandemic already, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) has witnessed the need for services intensify. Seniors are isolating in their homes out of necessity and missing out on daily socialization, a vital component of well-being and good health. Kids are going without educational assistance, socialization and programming that reduces stress, increases self-confidence and develops potential. Parents are trying to juggle work while helping children learning from home.
For many impacted by mental health challenges before the pandemic, the symptoms have been greatly exacerbated, including new or heightened levels of substance use, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Meanwhile, COVID-19 itself can also lead to neurological and mental complications, such as delirium and agitation.
SYFS Executive Director Christine Mowry, reports that the waitlist at the agency is growing as they work to respond to the many requests they have fielded and continue to receive.
“Many of the calls we get are regarding young people in crisis,” Mowry said. “For SYFS to help with the recovery of this pandemic, we have to financially survive now. This is the second year we have had to cancel our annual gala, an event that raises about one-third of our annual budget, and it is critical we still raise those funds through this online campaign.”
Mowry continued that she is also sensitive to the fact that many of the businesses that they have normally relied on for organizational sponsorships are themselves struggling in this climate.
“To be here for the community in the future, we need the community’s help now,” she said. “Our community has repeatedly proven itself to be filled with incredibly generous, caring people. We are counting on them to help ensure that we stand ready to assist anyone who needs us, whether for mental health services or help accessing fuel, housing or any other resource. Without it, we will be overwhelmed with victims, with lasting effects that no vaccine will immunize.”
To donate to SYFS, visit: www.charity.gofundme.com/SYFSHope.
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