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Coping with anxiety during pandemic, political unrest

With so much tumult going on in our country, it’s important to remember to take care of your mental health.

“What we know is that mental health is equally as important as physical health,” said Diana A. Brown, MS LMFT LPCC of Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health.

Between the coronavirus pandemic and political unrest, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness are running high amongst Americans.

“It’s really natural and human to be affected by all the things going on in the world around us and sometimes just remembering that and validating that is an important first step,” Brown said.

“40 percent increase in the report of anxiety, depression, substance abuse from this time one year ago,” said Dr. Anita Chatigny, a medical psychologist at Desert Regional Medical Center.

Local mental health experts recommend investing in self-care. Some tips include going for a walk, exercising, journaling, limiting screen time, meditation, spending time with family and pets, or picking up a hobby. 

“You know some people call it smelling the roses. Some people talk about finding happiness in every moment. Some people talk about living in the present or living in the now,” Dr. Chatigny said.

But for some people, these measures are not enough.

“If we’re anxious, if we’re depressed, we become emotionally paralyzed by those feelings… that’s a problem,” Dr. Chatigny said.

“When any of these things become an interruption to your daily life, that’s when we’d recommend somebody reach out,” Brown said.

“My rule of thumb is a three day rule. That we try the best we know how for three days and if those feelings exist beyond three days, beyond our best efforts, on the fourth day, we need to be reaching out to someone,” Dr. Chatigny said.

Riverside County offers countless free resources for those seeking help and for those who know someone struggling.

“Be brave and reach out for help. Help is available. We are here for you,” Brown said.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RESOURCES:

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Taylor Begley

Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.

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