Stay-at-home orders can negatively affect your mental health

NOW: Stay-at-home orders can negatively affect your mental health

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Residents all over the country are abiding by different types of stay-at-home orders trying to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

It is a stressful time for anyone, especially when you are cooped up inside day in and day out with only your electronics to keep you busy. But any health expert will tell you that too much time on social media, whether it is Instagram, Facebook or even news apps can be a little much and can actually be harmful to your mental health.

“The biggest thing we’re seeing is an increase in anxiety, depression, irritability, sleep issues,” Rachel Ford, the Clinical Supervisor at Meridian Health Services said.

Ford helps patients deal with their mental health. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, she is seeing a rise in new clients.

“Now that kids are out of school and people are out of work, or even working virtually, there’s a big disruption in structure, which seems to be causing a lot of these issues to increase,” Ford said.

While there are obvious stressors related to going out in public or even going to a hospital or testing facility, there are less obvious stressors like increased time on social media.

“That does affect their self-esteem and does cause them depression-like symptoms so I do see an increase in that now that people are home more, they’re posting more, there’s a little bit more of a boredom factor,” she said.

Too much news consumption, Ford says, may also increase anxiety and irritability.

She said they are even seeing a difference in the mental states of already established clients.

“I see a lot of people who are just explaining that their symptoms are a lot more exacerbated at this point so the symptoms that they already had are heightened or just appear worse or they were making progress and now there is a decline,” she said.

Besides speaking to a therapist, Ford says the most important step in bettering your mental health during this pandemic is to keep some sense of structure and stick to a routine.

“Go to sleep at the same time, wake up the same time, get ready like you would if you’re going to would. Do those things that people may not think of doing,” she said.

According to her, all of their sessions have moved to virtual platforms through either zoom calls or phone calls.

Although not seeing clients face to face is an adjustment, she said she’s glad she can still help.

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