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Healthwatch 16: Coping with social distance

A psychologist with Geisinger Health System has some advice for those struggling with isolation.

About one in every six adults in the United states Suffers from depression. And even if you've never experienced mental distress, you might be now in the midst of the pandemic and its challenges.

A Geisinger psychologist says in this time, it's really important to practice physical distancing, but not necessarily social distancing.

"We are instructed not to be close to family members, loved ones, friends. We can't even maintain routines. Because of that lack of stability, lack of certainty, every day is a new day for us. That lack of stability creates depression and anxiety for a lot of us," explained Dr. Shahida Fareed, a psychologist with Geisinger Health System.

"The notion of social distancing is that people assume they can't connect with other people. However, as a mental health provider, it's my responsibility to clear that confusion that its's not about not connecting with other people. It's about maintaining your physical distance from other people," Dr. Fareed said.

"Maintaining a good routine helps you say, at the end of the day, I accomplished something. I got things done despite everything. And that helps you gain that sense of achievement back."

So again, keep your distance, but do connect with people, allowing them into your routine.

Dr. Fareed me the example of members of the same family watching the same movie on the same night in their own homes, then talking about it later.

It's those shared common experiences, she says, that will keep us connected, thereby preventing total isolation.

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