Dealing with mental health during the pandemic

Malia Holbeck, the manager of Avera outpatient behavoral health services joins us. What are we seeing as far mental health concerns with people during this pandemic.?

Malia: "So I think with this pandemic we're seeing quite a few different things. So just in general that can be stressful for a lot of people, but it's also very hard for people that already have a mental health condition. Just because there are a lot of concerns right now of what we should be doing, what we shouldn't be doing, and whether we should be going out and taking care of our mental health by seeing our providers. So some of the things that we are seeing right now is that there are a decline of people that are struggling with mental health conditions right now. That aren't continuing their care. and their conditions are continuing to get worse right now."

Erik: What are some of the warnings signs that you should look for in yourself and others?

Malia: "So some things just to be aware of and to pay attention to is different things like if you are starting to experience a lack of energy, maybe you're struggling with being able to sleep or maybe you are sleeping too much. Maybe you are starting to turn to alcohol and drugs just to be able to kind of cope with stressors. Or different mental health conditions that you are experiencing. right now can be a very of an isolating time for a lot of people just because of some of the parameters that have been put on us. To stay physically well and not be getting sick which can contribute to some of the mental health conditions that we are experiencing as well."

Erik: What are some helpful tips that people can do to ease that stress and anxiety?

"So some different things that people can do is making sure that you still are eating healthy, keep a good diet, get out to do some exercise. Those are all things that can be very helpful to us. Making sure that you are avoiding using alcohol and using drugs and start connecting with others too. Again this can be isolating, and that ability to be able to continue connecting with others can help with that stress level. And if you are taking medications make sure that you are continuing to take those medications to help you stay well."

Erik: And if people are feeling overwhelmed right now, what should they do?

Malia: " Reach out for help. Reach out to your primary care physician. You can reach out to the Avera assessment line which is available 24/7. If you've already connected to a counselor, to a therapist, reach out to them and let them know what your are experiencing and they can provide you with the help that you need."