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The pandemic’s impact on mental health shouldn’t be overlooked


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on physical and mental health in our country.

There have been more than 32.6 million cases and more than 580,000 deaths. In Florida, there have been more than 2.2 million cases and nearly 36,000 deaths.

The pandemic has also had a significant impact on mental health, and it likely will for years to come. In a Census Bureau study last year, 37 percent of Florida adults reported suffering from depression or anxiety. For some, these conditions were new but for many it exasperated already existing mental health illness.

The mental health aspect doesn’t diminish the devastating death toll, but it is a factor we can’t overlook.

The impact can be seen on many levels. There has been an increase in the number of people experiencing mental health issues because of the pandemic. In addition, doctors are studying the role mental illness plays in mortality rates.

Although the correlation between COVID-19 and mental health is still being studied, a recent study in New York, reported Schizophrenia was only second to age as the greatest risk factor for COVID-19 deaths.

According to the study by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, people with schizophrenia, a mental disorder that affects mood and perception of reality, are almost three times more likely to die from coronavirus) than those without the psychiatric illness.

At Elite DNA Therapy Services, we have had many patients report their mental health conditions and well-being have worsened. They are experiencing difficulty sleeping and worsening chronic conditions. Not surprisingly, many patients report they have begun to develop obsessive compulsive symptoms.

As patients  worry and stress over the coronavirus, they have grown more isolated, and many have developed agoraphobic symptoms. These conditions can make people less likely to go to an unfamiliar location to get a vaccine. We also know many of our patients may not have a regular primary care physician.

As such, we wanted to provide a safe and familiar place for them to have access to the vaccine. As an organization and with our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Omar Rieche, we became approved with Florida Shots.

Elite DNA patients who may not have been vaccinated otherwise are now able to get the shot. By providing the vaccine, opening new offices across the state and expanding virtual care services, Elite DNA is being proactive about protecting the mental and physical health of Floridians.

With nearly 20 offices across the state and virtual care services, we currently see nearly 1,000 patients a day and take more than 1,500 calls daily. During much of 2020, we made virtual appointments available immediately on our website.

Elite DNA Therapy Services has offices in Brandon, Bradenton, Brooksville, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Inverness, Jacksonville, Lehigh Acres, Loxahatchee, Naples, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Venice, Wesley Chapel, Westchase and Weston. More offices are opening this summer. For more information about Elite DNA Therapy Services, visit the website at or call 239-223-2751.

Elizabeth  Dosoretz, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer
Elite DNA Therapy Services

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