JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Local healthcare workers are struggling with their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The director for the Center for Healthy Minds and Practice at UF Health Jacksonville, Dr. David Chesire, says the number of their staff members seeking help has at least doubled since the pandemic started in March.
He says it was already on a steady incline since January. He says people are mainly battling acute anxiety about the pandemic. He says fear of the unknown causes people to lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping.
"We’ve got to find ways to let our bodies and our minds heal at the end of the day," Dr. Chesire said. He says sleep is the first thing you should do.
He also suggests people put aside 30 minutes at the end of the day to allow yourself to stress and worry. After those 30 minutes, he says don't allow yourself to think about what makes you stressed.
Chesire shared his six steps to coping with anxiety:
1. Know you’re not alone in this. He says the entire world is going through the same thing right now
2. It’s okay to get angry
3. Talk to your family about your concerns with COVID-19. If you're afraid of spreading the virus to people you love, share that concern with them
4. Accept that anxiety is the new normal right now
5. Find something to do that makes you laugh. Dr. Chesire says laughter is a cure for many things
6. Be hopeful for the future. He says eventually this will end, If you can't think long term, he says look forward to something every day to help get you through