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Spike in demand for therapy

With mental health problems such as anxiety and depression on the rise during the pandemic, many therapists are struggling to keep up with the demand.

Kingston psychologist Dr. Jennifer Buckwash and Scranton counselor Gretchen Bentler both say they've seen a huge spike in demand for therapy since the pandemic began.

Dr. Buckwash hasn't been able to take on new clients for a few months now.

"If I do happen to catch somebody that's calling me, I'm hearing, 'Oh, gosh, I can't believe you answered. I've called 20 people, and you're the first person that I've been able to talk to,' which is heartbreaking," Dr. Buckwash said.

"When we're seeking help, and we finally come to that decision where we're able to make that choice into action, and then we hit those roadblocks, that can feel defeating," Bentler said.

Ron Simon is the chief operating officer of the Wilkes-Barre-based Children's Service Center, which offers help to both kids and adults.

Simon has seen a big increase in the number of new adult clients, but a decrease among children. He says that's because most kids get referred to a therapist by their schools, and many teachers are only seeing their students through a computer screen.

"Definitely kids are having problems, and when you think about it, these kids have not been in school for close to a year, so when they go back, there's going to be issues just from that transition. So we're ready, but I anticipate there's going to be an increase in services," Simon said.

One silver lining is that people are at least seeking out help when they need it.

"Now that, unfortunately, a lot of people are suffering, everybody is at the point where they're saying, 'It's time.' and that is a wonderful thing," Dr. Buckwash added.

Therapists we talked to say, don't give up. Even if someone can't take you on, ask them to refer you to someone else. They also suggest that you expand your search to include providers outside of your immediate area since many therapists are conducting visits virtually right now.

Most importantly, know that you're not alone.