SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A new survey from the CDC shows that more people are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been an increase in isolation, substance use, and suicidal thoughts. Western Mass News digs deeper into the latest statistics from the CDC, with insight from the Mental Health Association Inc. 2

COVID-19 has been debilitating and many cases, deadly to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, but its impact extends more than just physically.

"Our mental health colleagues are reporting increased levels of stress and anxiety," said Kimberley Lee, vice president of resource developing and branding at the Mental Health Association Inc. in Springfield.

Lee said they're seeing more people experiencing signs of depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts here in western Mass. as people continue to practice social distancing, isolating themselves.

"Locally, we see a higher demand for support," she said.

This week is suicide prevention week, and ahead of September, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the CDC surveyed over 5,000 adults in June. Their latest statistics, revealing that 40-percent of Americans reported experiencing mental or behavioral challenges as a result of COVID-19.

"There is a real lack of an opportunity for us to engage in meaningful conversation and connection," Lee added.

In the survey, 11-percent reported they seriously considered suicide in 30 days. Lee said this year's suicide awareness is that much more important amid the pandemic, which is why they're encouraging the community to talk about suicide.

"We refer to it as ASR, which [stands for] asks, support, and respond," she explained.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but Lee told Western Mass News opening up can help prevent it from happening.

"Ask them how they're feeling, ask them how they are, and mean it and listen to their response," she said. "Refer them to a professional someone at the mental health association or another behavioral health clinic where they can talk to someone about how they're feeling."

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1(800)-273-8255.

According to the CDC, some warning signs of suicide include being isolated, feeling like a burden, increased anxiety, and increased substance abuse.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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