Mental health experts discuss dealing with stress of pandemic, holidays

Health

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Months of worrying about COVID and social isolation are now running right into the stresses of the holidays. Experts worry that is a recipe for mental health disaster.

When there is so much bad news, it can make you feel bad, but the average person might not make the connection.

“It’s hard for them to identify the specific details of what feeling bad is about,” said Dr. Steven Marans, Director of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence.

Mental health experts met virtually with Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and told her some common reactions to stress.

“Nervousness, lack of energy, sadness, irritability, problems with memory, trouble concentrating,” explained Luis B. Perez, President & CEO of Mental Health Connecticut.

The feeling of helplessness in the face of a pandemic is even worse for people who also lost their jobs.

“Stressors that come on a family when someone is unemployed have been piling on, so we’re really finding a lot more of our families in desperate need, if you will,” said Dr. Alice Forrester, the CEO of Clifford Beers.

At a time of year, we usually spend with family and friends, there is that COVID isolation.

“I think that social distancing, that term, led us to heightened social isolation either in our own construct, or by actually physically distancing,” said Perez.

“You know, when you feel alone, one of the first steps is, it’s so hard and so awful to acknowledge to yourself that you’re hurting,” said Marans.

What all the professionals say is there is no shame in getting help.

“Don’t feel like you need to be the hero that does not seek help,” Perez said. “It’s important for you to take care of yourself, because otherwise you won’t be able to take care of others.”

Since we are all facing all that bad news, so no one is really alone.

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