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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Staying healthy during the pandemic means more than just avoiding the symptoms of COVID-19.

Mental health professionals warn that all that's come in 2020, including demands for social justice, is taking a toll on a lot of peoples' mental health.

Like a lot of counselors, Elisha Durrett Johnson, the CEO of Begin to Talk LLC, has seen her patient count has continued to increase during the pandemic. 

"The previous coping mechanisms are no longer working," Johnson said. "So you're seeing an increased, even more so, of the anxiety and depression."

In February, Brittany Hinkle, a local real estate agent, lost a close friend. A month later, her job was eliminated because of COVID-19.

"I just kept thinking I was depressed and didn't know what to do about my future," Hinkle said. "Two-headed monster."

After two painful loses, Hinkle admits the loneliness of isolation made it a struggle to not lose hope.

"I just found myself sitting at home every day, sitting with grief, confusion and anxiety about what was going to happen in the next few months," she said. 

According to recent data from Mental Health America, the pandemic has been hard on a lot of people. The community-based nonprofit said there's been a 634% increase in people using its online tool for anxiety and an 873% increase in people looking for information about depression.

"It's always been there. It's just increased even more," Durrett-Johnson said. "So, we've ripped the Band-Aid off of the wound."

Durrett-Johnson is a licensed mental health counselor and said whether it's a loved one or a job, a lot of people are hurting and in need help.

"Loss is almost the theme of this entire pandemic and this era ... So with grief and loss comes a lot of stress," Durrett-Johnson said, adding that the stress can be just as deadly as the coronavirus.

"When you hold that in, it can do so much to you, not just to your physiological, right, your health and to your mental stability."

After a few months of dealing with depression, Hinkle turned to a mental health counselor and got the help she needed and a fresh start with a new career in real estate.

"I said, at this point, I have cried enough," she said..

If you need help for anxiety, depression or any other mental health issues, please reach out to one of the organizations listed below:

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