SARASOTA, Fla (WFLA) – After more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare leaders are noticing an increase in people seeking mental health treatment. Doctors Hospital of Sarasota tells 8 On Your Side their Behavioral Unit has seen an increase in people with anxiety and depression.

“The depression has been heightened because of social isolation, by fear of the pandemic, around vaccination, fear or vaccines, fear of not being vaccines in time,” said Janice McKendrick, Director of the Behavioral Unit at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

McKendrick explained the number of patients they are seeing have doubled within the last year. Many of the patients seeking help are younger adults.

“The young people we are seeing many are affiliated with colleges, and universities or just begin their work in life and just have been exposed with additional stress with working around the pandemic and fear around that,” added McKendrick.

But it’s not just the young adults looking for help, McKendrick told 8 On Your Side the older adults looking for help with their mental health as well.

8 On Your Side spoke with a 75-year-old patient at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota who shares that his struggles with anxiety were exacerbated due to the pandemic, but knew he needed help.

“The biggest thing that has certainly helped me was learning different coping skills on how to cope with anxiety, how to cope with my fears of my preexisting conditions catching up with me,” said the 75-year-old patient getting help for his anxiety.

McKendrick also pointed out that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month and said it is vital to acknowledge that help is needed for mental health problems and there is help available to anyone who may be struggling, even during a pandemic.

The  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.