Professionals address mental health impact amid COVID-19 pandemic

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Many people are concerned about their physical well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now mental health is coming to the forefront due to new stressors such as having to work from home or not working at all.

The COVID-19 virus is bringing anxiety and stress to many Americans. 

Ramona Perkins, a licensed professional counselor, says people like to know what’s next.

“As humans, we are really programmed to like predictability. If we can predict what’s coming at us, we can kind of form our response. So uncertainty usually triggers anxiety,” said Perkins.

Pearl Behavioral Health in Huntsville, Alabama, has seen an increase in clients seeking to schedule therapy sessions. 

Daryl Mason, a licensed professional counselor, says change can be hard.

“It has been a challenge for people to switch gears from just having a regular schedule running errands, and now, for the sake of their health, they are being told that has to change,” Mason said.

While social distancing is putting a halt to many day-to-day activities, counselors are using telemental health therapy for online sessions so that getting mental health help doesn’t have to be put on hold.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to provide some services in a way that we couldn’t before,” Perkins said. “Especially for people who aren’t able to come in or aren’t comfortable coming in.”

While new stressors are bound to come up in relation to COVID-19, councilors say you should shift your focus.

Alicia Winkle, a licensed professional counselor, says fresh air is key.

“Try to do the best you can when you’re in the home. Make sure you’re going outside as far as like around the house and taking a walk and getting some fresh air,” said Winkle.

They also say you should stay connected by reaching out to family and friends. Social distancing might mean you’re physically separated, but it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. 

Here is a guide to some national resources for mental health.

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