Mental Illness and Covid

August 10, 2020

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Anchor lead: More people are reporting mental health problems as the pandemic rages on, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Mental health problems are spiking along with rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world, the Lancet reports. Eric Strain, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says he isn’t surprised.

Strain: I think it’s spot on correct. I think we’re seeing people who are very socially isolated and despondent. Because the responsible thing, they feel, is to stay at home, to be wearing a mask, to not be out in public, but we all need those experiences, to be out, to be seeing people, to have physical contact with other people. To hug a friend, to shake a hand. Those are things that carry some valence of meaning to us, which we now, if we’re being responsible, avoid doing.  :32

Strain says accessing tools such as Zoom and FaceTime can help, but that there’s no substitute for in person interaction. He recommends planning limited interactions with others and contacting a mental health expert if needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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