"It's a new year, but it's the same old crap."By Nicole Ford

PITTSBURGH, PA (KDKA) – It was a year for the books, from a presidential election to protests to a global health crisis. Life has changed for a lot of Pittsburghers.

“It’s hard to be pent up in the house all day, even if it was just a five-minute walk to work. Those things get you up and out of the house. People need a routine,” said Jared Rogos.

Now more than ever, people are seeking help.

“The pandemic is messing with people and interestingly it’s worse for people who haven’t previously been diagnosed with mental health,” said Dr. P.V. Nickel, AHN Chair of Psychiatry.

Dr. Nickel said he does not anticipate this growing need for mental health help to diminish and is encouraging people to have realistic expectations for this next year.

“Each of us should take time to think about what we think would help us get through the next several months, because it’s a new year, but it’s the same old crap. It didn’t change on January 1,” Dr. Nickel said.

With therapy calls up, what do you do if you are met with the busy signal? Dr. Nickel said telehealth is providing innovative options for more people as the doctors’ offices book up.

“The benefit of that is you don’t have to rely on who’s here locally. A good place to start is your PCP. A number of practices, including most of our practices, have behavioral health clinicians imbedded with the primary care doc who could prescribe you some medication and a therapist can see you,” Dr. Nickel said.

The main message is to speak up and ask for help, even if it’s just with a family member or friend.