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Experts Brace For Mental Health Impact Of Coronavirus Crisis

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Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/2Ws38YU

COVID-19 has been a disruption of seismic proportions and it's taking a toll not only on peoples' physical health, but their mental well-being. 

Forty-five percent of American adults say the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health, citing fears of contracting the virus and financial distress as two chief drivers of heightened anxiety.

Millions of Americans are living in isolation under protective stay-at-home orders -- safe from the virus but more vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and anxiety; unhealthy or dangerous thoughts and behaviors; or unsafe home environments.

It's not uncommon to have feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness, frustration or anger right now. Life has been dramatically upended and people are generally stressed. There's a lot of uncertainty about the future. 

Millions of people are now without work and struggling to make ends meet. Kids are confused and we're all fearful of infection. But if left to fester, negative emotions and mindsets can escalate to an unhealthy place.

Friends and families are grieving loved ones lost to COVID-19. Front-line medical personnel in hard hit areas are facing traumatic situations on a daily basis with potential to lead to severe, even deadly psychological ramifications. 

What are some best practices to maintain mental well-being during this unprecedented health crisis? What coping mechanisms can be employed to quell overwhelming anxiety or negativity? Are people with an existing mental health diagnosis more at risk at this time? 

Is there evidence to suggest people are experiencing more nightmares right now than usual, because of the pandemic? How can anxiety and fear about the pandemic affect your subconscious? At what point should you seek professional help?

Is America's mental health care system prepared to handle a wave of people seeking help? How can telehealth be used for mental health services and what are the biggest challenges? What other resources are available for adults, kids and essential workers? 

Guests:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, May 6.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.