For more stories on Utah County and the Persian Gulf see page A8.Utahns may be far from the front line of hostilities in the Middle East, but war is taking its total on their mental health.
Representatives of several counseling centers in Utah County report calls to their facilities have increased about 10 percent during the past couple of days.Before Wednesday, Christine Williams, Charter Canyon marketing director, would have attributed the increased numbers of calls to the weather.
"In this case, there is just a lot of anxiety about the start of the war," she said.
Most of the calls are from adults who are experiencing stress and anxiety, she said.
While counseling centers in other parts of the country have noted an increased number of calls for help for children, Charter Canyon has not.
"I think it depends on how your educational system is handling the situation," Williams said.
Doug Ford, director of psychiatric services at Mountain View Hospital in Payson, also notes an increase in calls.
"I think we've been heading in this direction, the anxiety has kind of been building," Ford said. "Yesterday was kind of the crescendo. Any time you have a national emergency it causes anxiety and stress in everybody."
It's usually a problem other than war in the Middle East that prompts people to call Mountain View, Ford said. Still, Ford is amazed at the number of people who in the course of conversation reveal someone they know or are related to is involved in Operation Desert Shield.
"We're seeing it as an aside," Ford said. "It is not the reason they are calling."
Bill Marshall, director of satellite psychiatric programs for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, said his facility has not seen an increased number of calls for help.
"We have had no calls today," Marshall said. "We've been extremely busy over the past two weeks. We may get it tomorrow."
Marshall said he thinks the increase in calls for help over the past two weeks is "just related to the fact that we've had terrible weather here."