LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic has led to high anxiety and depression for many Nevadans. And a local mental health group is looking to help, and you can't beat the price. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean speaks to the nonprofit providing relief that doesn't cost you a dime.
"At 16 I was diagnosed with chronic depression," said Samantha Sufiyan.
Sufiyan's battle with mental health is personal to her but similar to what lots of people are going through.
FELT VERY ALONE
"I felt like I had no one to talk to. It was embarrassing. It was something I felt very alone dealing with," said Sufiyan.
Things got so bad Samantha ended up spending time in a psychiatric facility. She eventually made the decision to get herself on the road to good health.
"I've gotten years of therapy, hired mindset coaches, life coaches and inundated myself with mindset work and help," said Sufiyan.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS
That's when she found The National Alliance of Mental Illness, or NAMI. As a facilitator for their peer-led support groups, Samantha and other specially trained volunteers provide; support, awareness and education for those in need.
"You're not alone and we're here for you," said Sufiyan.
WEEKLY SUPPORT GROUPS
"Anyone who is 18 and over can join one of our weekly support groups," said Trinh Dang, executive director of the nonprofit's local affiliate, NAMI Southern Nevada.
She says demand for services has spiked since the start of the pandemic.
"It's definitely had an impact on people and their anxiety levels. The calls that we're getting are generally around housing insecurity, food insecurity and just where to find help and therapy services," said Dang.
NAMI Southern Nevada has worked with more than 4,000 people over the last year and their assistance is absolutely free.
"The last thing we want people to worry about is how they're going to pay for help," Dang said.
The support groups have moved online during the pandemic, but Samantha says they're busier than ever.
IT'S SO CONVENIENT
"I see a big difference. We have such a bigger crowd because it's so convenient. You can do it right in the comfort of your own home," said Sufiyan.
She says she hopes anyone feeling lost, hopeless or overwhelmed will take time to join one of their meetings. Sufiyan also says she understands some people may not be ready to share their feelings, but it's part of the healing process.
"I think actually talking out loud to other people who have been in the exact same position, you feel that sense of comfort. You feel that sense of, there's no judgment here," Sufiyan said.
Sufiyan says mental illness is a continuous battle and everyone deserves to know the tools needed to cope.
"I still have my moments where I'm battling with my depression because it is something that lives with me. But now I know how to handle it in a safe way, a healthy way and manage my thoughts and depressive feelings in a way that is progressing me further in my life," said Sufiyan.
Your mental health should be a priority, and if you need assistance the Nevada Crisis Hotline is available at 775-784-8090.