SHREVEPORT, La. - The next wave of COVID-19 may be psychological distress, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

"A failure to take people's emotional well-being seriously will lead to long-term social and economic costs to society," states the WHO.

The statewide stay-at-home order caused some people to cancel their mental health appointments. Now that all medical care has resumed, it's important to re-schedule, according to Dr. James Patterson, chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at LSU Health Shreveport.

He said the pandemic is taking an emotional toll on patients who are already battling psychosis.

"They're paranoid already and this is not helping on top of everything have to deal with their mental illness they have this new thing added on. It's tough. Especially with our economy as well with all the economic burdens and impact that's is hitting us. Louisiana especially with the oil industry, we're looking at a double if not a triple whammy," said Patterson. 

Patterson says clinics are open and doctors are available and willing to help.

Anyone who's still worried about contracting COVID by going into a doctor’s office can set up a telehealth visit. If you don't have a provider, call LSU Health Shreveport at 318-626-2445.

Or text REACH OUT (in all caps) to 741741. Trained crisis counselors with the Louisiana Crisis Counseling Program for COVID-19 will help de-escalate and identify coping strategies.

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