LEE COUNTY, FLA — After a hellish year that had us grappling with a pandemic, racial inequality, and a contentious election, we're now seeing the horrifying return of a pre-covid trend.
As we track several mass shootings that have happened in the span of a week.
And after all of that, it's safe to say that people are not okay.
Mental Health America reports that the rate of depression is up, with 1.5 million more people reporting that they're struggling as compared to this time last year.
"As a group, it's been a year of powerlessness," said Dr. Alise Bartley.
Dr. Bartley runs the community counseling clinic at Florida Gulf Coast University and she says those shootings will likely compound that alarming mental health trend.
"Right now we know that people are already struggling with their mental health," she said.
Dr. Bartley says to fight that trend, we've got to pay attention to the signs in others.
"If the person has withdrawn, are they interacting with those they used to interact with? Also, has their physical appearance changed? Are they not showering every day or not getting dressed every day," she said.
And once you notice it, she says you've got to fight the urge to ignore them or resort to simply reaching over text.
"Face-to-face communication is consistently going to be best," she said, "Or if you don't feel comfortable maybe you know someone else who has a closer relationship with that person. Go ahead and reach out to that person."
Once that conversation happens, she says the next step is to find professional help.
She recommends calling 2-1-1 to get plugged in or reaching out to a few local organizations.