Afraid, lonely, sad, anxious, discouraged, overwhelmed, lethargic. Sound familiar? Mental health professionals are seeing an increase in symptoms of both anxiety and depression among clients. People who have never experienced mental health concerns are for the first time, and people who have struggled with mental health disorders are finding their battles to be even stronger.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our country, our daily routines, and ultimately has affected everyone’s mental health. Even you! It’s hard to be mentally strong during a period of fear, tension and living in the unknown. People are trying to find their “new normal” while questioning, “What does my new normal look like?”

With over one-third of Americans reporting that the pandemic and social unrest has caused a decline in mental health, it is safe to say we are not only living through a global pandemic, we are also facing a serious rise in mental health concerns. Anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are more present in people’s lives now than ever. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. COVID-19 is this event, and it’s safe to assume that PTSD symptoms will be present long after the pandemic has eased and your new normal emerges.

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Everyone has a unique and different stress response when feeling threatened. Do you know what yours is? We encourage you to pause and identify if and how your mental health has changed because of COVID-19 and social unrest. Are you more irritable or anxious? Do you find yourself worrying about things that are out of your control? Does life just seem way too hard right now? Has your energy level and motivation significantly decreased? These are all common areas that are affected by stress and change.

We urge you to take time to reflect on how your life has changed over the past four months and what that means to you. Think about what you want your “new normal” to look like. This may mean finding time to take care of your mental health, especially if any of the above concerns resonate with you. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel without judgment, knowing that you are going through something that you have never gone through before.

If current events cause different or strong emotional reactions that impact your daily functioning, it may be time to seek professional help. This does not indicate that you are in any way weak. Asking for help is simply acknowledging the events of the world are too overwhelming to cope with alone. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you will be on your way to finding your new normal.

Please reach out to The Village Family Service Center if you could benefit from extra support to help you cope during these unprecedented times. We are here for you.