There is a huge side effect from the images played out on TV every night and what many Americans are living through as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The side effect is anxiety and Sharon Reid, director of Hamblen County services for the Helen Ross McNabb Center, said her staff is seeing the effects seeping into the non-profit that helps with behavioral health.
“People are reaching out and calling,” she said.
The center is using telehealth and video consultations as much as possible as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has called for social distancing and only essential services to be working at this time as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads across the United States.
She said the center is still accepting walk-ins for treatment.
But, she still worries that more cases of people dealing with mental health issues could become more frequent.
“If it becomes more prolonged over time, it could become more,” Reid said.
She also worries that as the pandemic continues it could lead to other issues, such as alcoholism or drug use, as many Americans lose their jobs as the economy has contracted.
There are tips to help during this time, though.
“I think it’s really important to conduct self-care,” Reid said.
Important parts of self-care include getting enough sleep and exercising, she said. Another thing to do is to limit news consumption, she said, and take a break.
If anyone has a diagnosed mental health condition, they should be taking their medicine regularly.
Another tip for being mentally strong is to also help others, she said. Reid said take some time to help a neighbor, a loved one or someone that is elderly.
Reid said people should not isolate themselves during this time and try to be as social as possible even as they are confined, for the most part, at home.
“It’s a really stressful time,” she said. “You have to find the joy in each day. It’s there.”