ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Officials said a wave of mental health issues is washing over Central Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said they’re seeing a lot more drug overdoses Baker Acts now than during the same time in 2019.
Since more people are at home, crime has gone done. Overall calls for service continue to decrease, but Sheriff John Mina is concerned about the statistics that are rising.
“We have seen increases in drug overdoses and those who are committed involuntarily under the Baker Act," Mina said. "And I’m sure there’s a slew of socioeconomic contributors.”
In March 2019, there were 100 drug overdoses, and 10 people died. Last month, 172 people overdosed and 13 people died.
In addition, 1,035 people were committed involuntarily under the Baker Act since the beginning of the year. In the same time frame last year, that number was 841.
Nationally certified counselor Dwight Bain said calls to help hotlines have increased by more than 100%.
“Individuals that were dealing with stress or worry, depression, anxiety or loneliness were feeling pressure, but now that pressure has ramped up incredibly," Bain said.
Adding unemployment to the mix for someone who is already dealing with substance abuse or mental health can push them over the top, Bain said.
It can also stir up huge issues for people who have never struggled before because the stress of the unknown, the isolation and constant anxiety can be too much for many people to handle.
There are many Central Florida resources to guide those who need help, Bain said.
“If you’re feeling the pressure right now, instead of going toward self-destruction make sure to reach out for help,” Bain said.
Watch the video below to see what Orange County addiction resources are doing to help those in need.
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