Stormont Vail says demand for mental health services is up

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Many people worry the social distancing during the pandemic is impacting mental health.

Stormont Vail health says they’re experiencing a significant increase this year in the number of patients who have attempted suicide and self-harmed.

Stormont Vail’s trauma services Director Brinton Baker says the hospital is seeing a concerning trend.

“We’ve seen about triple the number of self-inflicted injuries and double the number of completed suicides that we saw in the same time period in 2019,” Brinton said.

Nurse Practitioner, Shelly Dudley with Stormont Vail Behavioral Health center says the numbers may reflect all the changes people are coping with this year.

“The stress level in the world is unbelievably high and not just the stress in the changes, but the unknown of what’s to come, how long are we doing this?” Dudley explained. “There’s hope and there’s definitely hope with the new vaccines that are coming up, but we don’t know and that unknown is very intimidating, and very concerning.”

Dudley reminds people to be realistic, “My concern is that people expect themselves to not be struggling a little bit or not to be worried or anxious or confused.”

“I think it’s really important to remember that it’s okay to have a bad day or its okay to not be good all the time,” Dudley added.

Baker says if you need help it’s available, “the biggest things that we’ve done in the outpatient behavioral department is to offer up remote services and that’s been a huge thing that we’ve done is to allow more people to access services.”

“Even people that not pandemic related have consistently struggled with transportation or timing being able to get out of work to come to an appointment, things like that, that have made it more accessible for those,” Dudley said.

Stormont Vail says they created serenity spaces and an employee assistance program for staff members to decompress from their workload.

If you or you know someone who needs help, you can contact the behavioral health call line (785) -270-4646 or email

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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