UNION COUNTY, ILLINOIS (WSIL) -- News 3 is digging deeper into Mental Health Awareness month, especially for those who are 65 and older.
Senior Solutions is a group and individual therapy program at the Union County Hospital. Its therapist Casey Huff says many seniors experience depression and anxiety as they age and transition through life.
That can be from the loss of a spouse, their children becoming busy with their own families and changes in income.
However, the pandemic has also created feelings of isolation and loneliness with having to stay home or keep away from family visits, as well as, anxiety over catching the virus.
"Overall it's just an increase in isolation that has really triggered a lot of mental health symptoms for many of our older adults," Huff explains.
While she has seen improvement with the roll out of the vaccine, it's still important for those experiencing those symptoms to get help.
"Don't hesitate to reach out to your local community mental health centers," Huff says. "They offer invaluable services. They can be a real starting point for you on your journey to mental health wellness."
The Senior Solutions program is fairly new to the Union County Hospital, and began taking participants in 2019. For those who qualify, they attend group therapy three times a week -- virtual or in-person -- and individual therapy based on their needs.
Jenny Poe, who works as the Office Patient Coordinator, says there's no need to feel ashamed, and that those involved with the program will go above and beyond to help clients get back to happy
"Don't listen to the stigma, what people put on it" she says. "It's not that. We're not that kind of program here. We're just here to help."
Poe adds that the program has had a positive impact as long as seniors are willing to show up and put in the work.
"I'm just glad our patients have been able to come here and use this as an outlet," she remarks. "They all seem to love it."
Health care providers can refer patients to the program or those interested can call the Union County Hospital themselves at (618) 833 - 4511. You can also click here for more information.