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Healthwatch 16: Caring for your mental health

Health care professionals are seeing a rise in anxiety and depression.

We have talked a lot about mental illness throughout this coronavirus pandemic, and for good reason: experts are seeing a rise in anxiety and depression. Add onto that the recent unrest surrounding racial injustice throughout the country. One therapist says it's a good time to check in on yourself, and on others, during what's a very uncertain time.

"It's uncertainty on uncertainty. First, we were not allowed to do the things we wanted to do. Now there's unrest and curfews in many cities! It's nerve-wracking!" said Dr. Shahida Fareed. "I'm seeing a lot of anxiety, and a lot of mood symptoms such as depression, people adjusting with how we're moving forward with all these things all at once."

"Our brains don't like uncertainty. When things are beyond our control, it's easy to give into that uncertainty and constantly worry, constantly wonder what's going to happen next," Dr. Fareed said "Symptoms of PTSD can develop and we call that PTSD as a result of being the second victim. You are witnessing something that you're not going through, but you're witnessing it, and as a result you can become a second victim of that violence."

Dr. Fareed tells her patients to focus only on fact, not on what people think about the facts.

For the coronavirus, that might be the CDC or your own doctor.

When it comes to issues of racial or social unrest, it might be seeking out a reputable news source instead of social media and being updated a few times a day but not constantly.

And of course, you can always speak to a mental health professional if you think that would be helpful.