Local therapists see increase in mental health patients of all ages

Local therapist seeing an increase in mental health patients of all ages

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - More and more people nowadays are sharing their mental health struggles, and one local therapist said this trend could be related to social media use.

Coastal Samaritan therapist Carlene Roberts said adolescents have been coming in more and more for increases in anxiety or depression. She said she thinks teens are experiencing more peer pressure.

And while this isn’t something new, Roberts said technology and social media are changing how people are dealing with it.

Roberts said if you feel like your friend or family member is struggling with their mental health, there are signs to let you know they may need to seek help.

“When you have a sense that person is not really opening up, when you feel like they’re really not sharing what’s going on in their life, they really don’t talk, basically they’re isolating," Roberts said. "Emotionally they are isolating, they may be isolating physically, they are dropping out of clubs or they are not going to activities like they used to.”

The Center for Counseling and Wellness therapist Bob Carter specializes in family therapy and play therapy for children.

Carter has seen an increase in children visiting over the years. He said he picks up on mental health issues by playing with them because he said children won’t express how they’re feeling verbally. One way is to see how a child draws pictures of their family.

He said some of the biggest reasons he sees children coming in for mental health problems relates to how they are parented.

“In fact, I have a three-year-old coming in today," Carter said. "It was a traumatic experience in this young man and so we see a lot of increase in particularly younger groups, younger generations. So often the biggest thing I see is parents exposing their children to various, domestic violence or abuse of any kind, emotional or physical.”

Carter also said he’s seen a change in family dynamics with a lot more blended families.

WMBF News also spoke with one person who’s struggling with anxiety and is seeking help.

Brittany Haugen said the feeling of anxiety is new for her, but she’s seeking help to learn what exactly is causing this feeling and she’s not ashamed to talk about it.

Haugen said this feeling of anxiety is triggered by large crowds. She also said when it gets busy at work, she’ll sit in the back to avoid people.

“I feel super, super nervous," she said. "It’s hard for me to breathe. I feel like I have to take deep breathes, I get very irritated and irritable, I don’t want people to talk to me because I snap at them and I don’t mean to.”

Roberts said anyone who may be struggling with the same feelings of anxiety or depression, should know it’s alright to feel this way.

“It’s OK, you are OK, you’re not crazy," Roberts said. "But life is hard and people struggling, that’s normal. We all struggle at some point and time in our life. Reaching out for help, to talk to somebody and sometimes having somebody that is not in close proximity to you but can be object, so sometimes, that’s where the benefit of a therapist comes in.”

LIST OF CENTERS IN OUR AREA:

  • The Center For Counseling and Wellness, North Myrtle Beach: (843) 663-0770
  • Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center, Myrtle Beach: (843) 448-4820
  • Little River Medical Center, Little River: (843) 663-8000
  • Waccamaw Center For Mental Health, Conway: (843) 347-4888

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