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Opinion: Those feeling isolated and depressed during coronavirus should reach out to a mental health professional

As the coronavirus drags on in our society, what I have been seeing as a clinical psychologist is a growing fear and anxiety in our population as meaningful information about the extent and boundaries of the virus is still not adequately provided.

Also, I am starting to see more depression and boredom as people are not working and cut off from meaningful activities. Extended periods of time can also create feelings of isolation and loneliness. I am also seeing increases in anger and frustration as people are feeling resentment toward the government for doing the extended time away from work and seclusion at home.

Another issue is stigmatization as anybody that will cough in public or anybody that has known somebody with the virus is often shunned by others and treated as if they have a fatal disease.

I encourage anyone experiencing any of the above to reach out to a mental health professional for help.

Also, examine all your worries and look for useful information. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has an app called PTSD Coach and offers strategies for imagery, breathing and other positive exercises. Focus on altruistic reasons for social distancing which might help with psychological distress.

We can increase our safety and reduce the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 by following physical distancing. We can beat this as a society when we connect and work together.

Ronald J. Coughlin, Ed.D.

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