SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We’ve been highlighting the mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic and the World Health Organization now says the pandemic has trigged a 25% increase in people with anxiety and depression.

A psychologist at St. Joseph’s Health says that’s only one alarming statistic.

Close to 50% or more of the people that are experiencing those symptoms are not getting the behavioral help treatment that they really need at this point.

Dr. Monique Winnett – Clinical Psychologist, St. Joseph’s Health

That’s in part because the number of people who need help is outpacing the professionals who can provide it. Dr. Winnett believes it’s also because a lot of people are afraid to ask for help.

“They worry what other people will think about them,” she said, but Winnett also warns the alternative can be far worse.

“Their physical health gets worse and their relationships get worse, things really tend to snowball,” Winnett said.

Dr. Winnett is hoping more discussions like these will encourage more people to call a psychologist when they see early warning signs.

Those warning signs can include major changes in sleep, weight, or appetite. Winnett says the same goes for kids.

“Parents, be mindful if your child is isolating a lot more, not spending time with peers or with family,” Winnett says that’s when you should call a doctor.

If you’re not sure whether you’re struggling with anxiety or just dealing with normal day-to-day stress, Winnett says you should listen to those closest to you.

“If people in your life are starting to say you’re not quite seeming like yourself is everything ok, that might be a little red flag to us too that it’s time to pause and do some self-reflection,” she said.

If you’re looking for mental health resources, Dr. Winnett says you should call 211.