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El Paso psychiatrist reports increase in emergency mental health visits

EL PASO, Texas — A local psychiatrist is raising concerns about mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Fabrizzio Delgado, the Psychiatrist Consult Chief with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso, said he is seeing an increase in patients for emergency mental health concerns. These cases can include patients with self-inflicted injuries, as well as patients brought in after concerns among family members or police.

Dr. Delgado said the emergency cases he is seeing are more severe than the cases he saw before the pandemic. He couldn't say exactly why the surge is happening, but believes the isolation of the pandemic and a lack of mental health resources in the El Paso area could play a role.

He said it’s important that friends and family members watch out for loved ones and approach them if they sense something is wrong.

“There’s a lot of stigma with mental illness, so if you’re asking, if you’re reaching out to someone who is struggling, they will probably have the opportunity to open up and tell you ‘OK. I’m going through this,’” Dr. Delgado said.

Dr. Delgado also said it’s important to remember that your mind can get sick just as other parts of your body.

If you are in need of help during a mental health crisis, there are several hotlines you can call. In New Mexico, you can use 1-855-NM-CRISIS (662-7474). In Texas, you can call statewide crisis line 1-833-986-1919.

“A lot of times people don’t get the help because they don’t know it is available or they don’t recognize that it is becoming a problem,” Dr. Delgado said. “But family or friends are people who are close by and can get the patient to the hospital and we can start the treatment.”

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.


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