Professionals address mental health impact amid COVID-19 pandemic

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Many people are concerned about their physical well being during the COVID-19 pandemic– but now people’s mental health is coming into discussion due to new stressors like having to work from home or maybe not working at all.

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

Ramona Perkins, a licensed professional counselor, says humans 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 has seen an increase in clients asking 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,” stated Mason.

While social distancing is putting a halt on many day to day activities–counselors are using telemental health therapy for online sessions so getting help with mental health 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 for. Especially for people who aren’t able to come in or aren’t comfortable coming in.”

While new stressors will 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 like as far as around the house and taking a walk and getting some fresh air,” said Winkle.

They also say you should stay connected, reach out to family and friends and know that social distancing might mean you’re physically separated but doesn’t mean you have to be alone. 

Pearl Behavior Health has been doing telemental health sessions since 2015 but says it’s critical in times like this when people can’t be seen in person.

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