HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the public to take care of their mental health. However, with so many questions left unanswered, the world’s anxiety levels have skyrocketed.
“Quite frankly for children and teenagers, it was a lot more concrete things,” said Therapist Lisa Hughes. “Questions like ‘Am I going to die? Are they shutting down grocery stores? Are they going to come in and lock us in our houses and we’re all going to run out of food?’”
Tri-state therapist Lisa Hughes has seen a surge of people reaching out for counseling to reduce anxiety symptoms during this time of social distancing. Hughes’s biggest piece of advice is encouraging patients to only focus on what they can control.
“I know initially, a lot of people thought working from home is kinda like a vacation but it doesn’t feel that way,” said Hughes. “People need to do things that make you feel purposeful because, without that purpose, it’s like living in a ball of chaos.”
UMBC Student Grace Jones has been Hughes’s client since 2015 when she was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and says between her school shutting down and normal routine flipped upside down, she personally thanked Lisa for her professional guidance.
“Before I started seeing Lisa, it was really hard because when you have such a major adjustment happening in your life, you don’t know how to handle those emotions, you don’t know how to manage your new life you were given,” said Jones.
And, for anyone feeling insecure about reaching out for assistance, Jones has a direct message for you.
“You’re not broken for feeling upset, mad or angry and there are a lot healthier ways to deal with them than just stuffing them all inside and acting like they don’t exist,” said Jones. “The things I’ve learned in therapy really are helping me stay sane, stay normal trying to adjust to this new world, who knows how long it’ll be.”
For uninsured Marylanders, the state has opened up Emergency Enrollment for low income or uninsured residents to seek help during the pandemic.