Page 6 - BusinessWest January 20, 2021
P. 6

 Impact Statements
Providers Grapple with Pandemic’s Toll on Physical, Mental Health
 SBy Joseph Bednar
tephanie Nascimento and Jeanette
Wilburn have long explored the connec- tions between physical and emotional health at their decade-old practice, Be Vital Wellness. These days, they say, with
so much anxiety gripping Americans, it’s more critical than ever to understand those connec- tions.
“Obviously, mental illness has always been a crisis, but it’s at an all-time high now,” Nascimento said. “We spend a lot of time digging with our cli- ents. They don’t always walk in the door and say, ‘I’m depressed.’”
In fact, the Hadley-based business began as a weight-loss and nutrition enterprise, and that’s still
a major part of it. But Wilburn said it’s gratifying when clients begin to understand how their choices and circumstances affect them in ways they’ve never considered.
“Sometimes people don’t even know they’re depressed; they don’t know they’re anxious,” she explained. “They just know that they can’t fall asleep, or they can’t stay asleep, or they wake up at
3 o’clock in the morning. A lot of people call it ‘busy brain,’ but they don’t realize that’s actually anxiety. I liken it to a hamster on a wheel, and the hamster is going way too fast. You need to either slow down the wheel or get the hamster off the wheel altogether.”
The problem is, almost a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impacts on physical and mental health, relationships, and finances, has only cranked the wheel faster, and too many people
“Obviously, mental illness has always been a crisis, but it’s at an all-time high now.”
Jeanette Wilburn
(left) and Stephanie Nascimento say the pandemic has increased people’s anxiety — and the need for self-care.
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