ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) - COVID-19 is emotionally draining many of us, causing people to struggle with anxiety and depression along with dealing with a pandemic.

"We do have to say to ourselves, 'We're probably going to be in this for a while,'" said Dr. Jeffrey Staab, Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

In the beginning, anxiety stemmed from the unknown. Now, months into the pandemic, the psychiatrist says people's attitudes have changed.

"People have died. People have lost jobs. There's more demoralization and frustration than acute anxiety," Staab said.

"They're not alone. A lot of people that are the happiest people in the world have those thoughts."

Adam Cole knows first hand. His close friend Zeb Hermanson killed himself two years ago and is now honored by a golf tournament raising funds for suicide awareness.

"Mental health is such a big situation these days especially with COVID," Cole said.

A third of Americans experience high levels of distress and are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression according to the PEW research center and census bureau research,

"One of the national [suicide] hotlines saw a thousand percent increase in the number of calls from April of last year to April of this year," said Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Senator Klobuchar hopes new legislation can make these mental health services available for everyone.

"Ninety percent of behavioral health organizations in the US have been forced to cut operations," the senator said. "We're trying to help them so they can help other people. We also have to look at healthcare plans. Mental health parity is something I've worked on for a long time."

While people may be physically distanced and tired of virtual calls, it's important to stay in touch with friends and loved ones.

"You want to make sure you reach out, even on days that you don't feel like it," Cole said.

"But the alternative is to not be connected and this is not a time when going through it alone is a good idea," Staab said.

Dr. Staab adds that maintaining healthy habits, especially when it comes to sleeping, eating and alcohol and drug use, is a huge part of mental health.

Common signs of declining mental health are irritability, anger, disinterest, social withdrawal, isolation, increase in drug or alcohol use, changes in sleeping or eating habits and thoughts of death.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you are advised to seek help.