Isolation coincides with depression, said Olsen, and being socially isolated has increased symptoms of the disease.
People can feel like leaving their house feels like doomsday, she added.
“It’s that increase in apprehensive fear and anxiety. There’s also the extreme of the other way. The paranoia and conspiracy some people feel it’s political and it’s conspiracy,” Olsen said. “It can also exacerbate some of those psychosis symptoms.”
For example, the paranoia could be thinking someone is trying to poison you, which is an extreme case, Olsen said, and people’s political views could feed into that.
Olsen is currently providing services via telehealth, which she said can make it harder to spot physical symptoms or be able to if someone is using again, whether by smell or by seeing physical symptoms.
For some, the barrier to accessing service is not just financial, said Sarah Papa, coordinator of the Community and Family Partnership. For others, they lack access to technology which makes telehealth possible.
One goal is to stimulate the local economy, since some providers have seen referrals go down during the pandemic due to loss of income or the lack of technology.
“In light of COVID that a lot of people are feeling anxious and stressed and maybe have experienced loss in one way or another whether that’s financial or loss of health,” Papa said. “And so we felt like this was a kind of the perfect storm to create a program where we can hopefully lessen barriers for people.”