Mental Health A Concern As COVID Hospitalizations Fall To Near Record Lows

May 19, 2021

The head of the advocacy organization that represents Florida’s hospitals at the state and federal level says as COVID-19 hospitalizations reach near record lows across the state, the mental health of both residents and health care workers is becoming a major concern.

Mary Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, was at Brooks Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville Wednesday to bring hospitals from around the region together to talk about pressing concerns in the healthcare system.

“One of the significant concerns I heard from our hospitals in this region pertained to supporting individuals with mental illness, addressing substance use disorder, and working collaboratively with partners in the community to address those challenges,” she said.

While many of these issues were there before the pandemic struck, Mayhew said the past year has made things worse for a lot of people who were already struggling with things like depression and anxiety.

But, Mayhew said, resources are available for people who need help. She pointed to telehealth, which is becoming more widely available and offers patients quick and easy access to counseling and treatment.

Another concern Mayhew cited is workforce shortages in the healthcare industry.

“We are still struggling to address the need for nurses at the bedside,” she said. “It is a difficult job to begin with. The pandemic has added to that stress and strain. So we have a lot of work to do to address meeting the demand for nurses, for respiratory therapists, for many other members of the healthcare workforce.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.