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Fighting A Depressive Pandemic

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This week on Petrie Dish we talk with experts about why you feel how you feel, and what happens inside your body when you start to feel overwhelmed. 

Reporter Dominic Anthony Walsh reports on how many Americans turned to cannabis to help soothe anxiety and depression from all the time in isolation. In the month of May, retail sales for cannabis in Colorado hit a new record. And in Texas, we visit the first-ever legal crop of cannabis that’s about to be harvested — but it's not the type of cannabis that gets you high. It’s hemp, full of Cannabidiol (CBD).

Our reporter Michael Treviño and his uncle, Tom Treviño, are just two of the millions of people across the country doing their best to maintain their health during this pandemic. But that goes beyond just hitting a gym. "You do want to look at again, things like sleep patterns, you want to look at overall stressors, you want to look at nutritional intake, you want to look at their social connection... you want to look at everything connected to the body," says Tom Treviño a personal trainer who has had his own struggles with weight and mental health over his life. The two Treviños say they feel good about their health and that staying active, getting outside into nature, and responsibly socializing has made all the difference in riding out this pandemic.

Finally, host and reporter Bonnie Petrie talks to Dr. Amina Qutub, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas San Antonio, who says we’re also in the midst of a depressive pandemic. As a team leader of UTSA’s Quantu Project, she’s following physiological changes of more than 60 people she’s been tracking for well over a year on wearable devices, like fitbits. She says changes in sleep patterns, resting heart rate, and physical activity indicate people’s mental health is deteriorating as this public health emergency drags on.

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Reported and Produced by: Bonnie Petrie, Dominic Anthony Walsh, and Michael Treviño.

Sound Design and Music: Jacob Rosati

Executive Producer: Fernanda Camarena 

Host: Bonnie Petrie 

TPR News Director: Dan Katz

This podcast is a production of Texas Public Radio, which was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Bonnie Petrie can be reached at Bonnie@TPR.org and on Twitter at @kbonniepetrie