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Therapists, counselors discuss grief and substance use during pandemic

According to the CDC in late June, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance use.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — 'Not One More Alabama' teamed up with counselors and therapists and discussed the impact the pandemic has on substance use. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 10 reported that they started or increased substance use because of COVID-19.

"Primary figures right now are mental health depression, and anxiety through the roof. But substance use is trailing right behind those two," says Marriage & Family Therapist Associate, Jack Sykstus.

Sykstus says the biggest use is alcohol. "Alcohol use is through the roof, consumption, the amount that is bought, as well as just use and overdose rates in alcohol right now."

Licensed Professional Counselor Maggie Banger says for people suffering with grief, here's what it may feel like. "It's going to be a heaviness in the core of our bodies, and our chest. You're going to feel like your eye socket's extremely heavy or somebody's pushing on them," says Banger.

If your loved one is experiencing grief, here's what it may look like. "Things shift some. I appear more guarded, more blocked. Just very surface level where we might have been able to laugh a lot more. I don't have that," added Banger.

Sykstus says helping someone through grief can start with conversation. "If you have an idea someone might be struggling, ask that beautiful open-ended question in an appropriate environment with the appropriate time."

He also adds that people who are willing to open up should do so when they're comfortable.

"Give yourself your 100 percent honesty. Get comfortable with that story. Then go and identify people and say, 'I'm going to tell them 80 percent. They don't need to know everything. But figure out, "what am I comfortable with?'," says Sykstus.

"Not One More is scheduled to host another workshop this Saturday from nine until noon. Click here for more details.