Psychiatrist on ways to cope with pandemic stress

U.S. & World News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– According to the CDC, large disease outbreaks are associated with an increase in mental health problems.

Dr. Rohini Mehta is a general adult psychiatrist at MCG who specializes in mood and anxiety disorder, and she says patients are reporting more mental health symptoms since the pandemic began last year.

“Whether it be sleep changes, mood changes, anxiety changes. There’s so much unpredictability that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic that it’s hard to adjust,” Dr. Mehta said.

She says our brains are wired to depend on routine, and the pandemic has disrupted that for many.

“It’s really important for us to focus on the things that are in our control and that we can do to make sure that we’re prioritizing our mental health during this time,” Dr. Mehta said.

Dr. Mehta encourages her patients to make habits– like going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, or setting aside daily time for a hobby. These are little changes that can make a big difference.

“Actually having that time to really incorporate it into our schedules is so impactful for our mental health,” Dr. Mehta said.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that affect the quality of your life, she says now is the time to reach out.

“Part of this is really knowing that there are resources out there. There are free resources, especially in times of emergency,” Dr. Mehta said.

She says it’s important to recognize mental health as an important component of overall health and wellbeing.

“It’s important to know that mental health symptoms are just as much a part of your overall wellbeing as physical health symptoms, and mental health emergencies similarly need to be treated like emergencies and seek immediate medical treatment,” Dr. Mehta said.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline— 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line— Text HELP to 741741

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