By CBSLA Staff

SAN DIMAS (CBSLA) — Craig Yeaton is working through a lot.

He’s not just trying to keep his dive shop afloat during an economic recession, he’s also experiencing a fog of depression that followed it.

“I’m feeling like I’m completely not in control of the things that I’m supposed to be in control of,” he said.

While Yeaton may feel alone, he certainly isn’t.

A new survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that the number of Americans reporting symptoms of depression tripled this April, compared to April 2019.

Five months later, some experts fear the problem may be much worse.

Dr. David Puder says the Loma Linda University Behavioral Health Institute has seen a dramatic increase of people coming in with symptoms of both depression and paranoia, likely triggered by staying at home alone.

“After months and months of doing that, they’re feeling sort of like ‘I’ve been on this island all by myself,’ and it’s really isolating,” he said.

Puder said the best thing people can do is reach out to friends and loved ones.

“Even if it’s like, ‘Okay, once a week I’m going to call this list of people,'” he said. “Get on the phone. Have those conversations, and get into nature.”

He said those who are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, have major changes in appetite or sleep habits, and/or can’t focus on or enjoy the things they used to should get professional help.

Yeaton said he doesn’t know if he will.

“It’s not easy to say, ‘I need you to help me,'” he said.

Dr. Puder said he understands the resistance to seeking help.

“I’m in mental health training, and I have a difficulty reaching out,” he admitted.

Puder said that those who are looking to make an appointment with a psychiatrist may have to make several calls, as many are overwhelmed right now. He also suggested trying out a day program.

Among those suffering from depression, experts say that unpaid caregivers, such as stay-at-home moms, and essential workers are much more likely to be affected.

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