Page 7 - BusinessWest January 20, 2021
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Alane Burgess (left) and Kristy Navarro say the first step to dealing with anxiety and mental- health stresses is talking about them.
are coping with unhealthy habits like overeating and alcohol abuse.
“Those bad habits were there before COVID — then the pandemic arrived,” Nascimento said. “There’s so much fear, not to mention people’s whole lives are changing. Kids are home from school, parents are trying to be teachers while also working and managing Zoom calls ... there’s been a lot of stress on families. We’ve had clients who were managing well, but are now struggling to maintain good habits.”
Kristy Navarro, clinical supervisor for BestLife Emotional Health & Wellness Center, a program of MHA, said the causes of increased anxiety are easy to understand.
Dr. Mark Kenton says healthcare workers have been feeling anxious, to varying degrees, since the start of the pandemic.
“The anxiety, depression, and worry all got heightened,” he said, especially in the early days last winter, when so little was known about coronavirus, and news media reported on soar- ing death counts in places like New York City. “It
made you think, ‘if I get this, am I going to die?’ You think of the worst-case scenario. Healthcare providers had that anxiety, and a lot of us had to find ways to get through.”
These days, as the pandemic wears on, Ken- ton, an emergency medicine physician at Mercy Medical Center, still worries about such issues — and not just for providers.
“I’m definitely worried about healthcare pro- viders getting exhausted or getting sick, but also the mental health of patients, and especially the mental health of children who have to do this remote schooling for a year and a half. What is the actual impact on children going forward?”
It’s a question being asked across the U.S., and it has no one-size-fits-all answer. But the
 Ilikenittoahamsterona 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.”
      “A lot of it is the stress people are going through financially. People have had to close down businesses they owned and lost all their income. So that produces this feeling of anxi- ety — ‘where am I going to get the money to pay my bills? How am I going to stay in my house? I wasn’t in debt, and now I am, so how am I going to do this?’”
That anxiety can manifest in different ways, she added.
“It can be physical — the shaking, the heart pounding, sweating. It can look like avoidance — maybe not checking your mail or not going out- side. It’s not just being worried, but genuine fear. Fear and feeling worried are two different things.”
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JANUARY 20, 2021 7
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