Experts Worried About Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 Long After Pandemic Ends

June 5, 2020, 3:07 p.m. ·

Sheri Dawson is Director of the Nebraska Division of Behavioral Health, part of the state Department of Health and Human Services. (NET Nebraska)

The state's top mental health official says some of the effects of social isolation won't be apparent until after the pandemic is over.

"What we know about COVID, and traumas and disaster, is that we see a longer term effect," said Sheri Dawson, Director of the Nebraska Division of Behavioral Health. "A year, year and a half, that's when we're really going to have to be watching."

Dawson says there's been an increase in Nebraskans seeking care for behavioral health, and adds that telehealth options have made care more accessible for some.

"Actually some of the providers have reported that the appointments are up because people used to have to find transportation to an appointment," Dawson said. "Now they can sit in their own home. So we actually have some behavioral health providers that are busier."

Dawson says Nebraskans can look for mental health care online at

Hotlines available for immediate help:

  • The Nebraska Family Helpline: 1-888-866-8660
  • SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990
  • The Nebraska's Rural Response Hotline: 1-800-464-0258
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Watch the full discussion on Speaking of Nebraska: