The mental health effects of social distancing

Coronavirus

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The new normal of restaurants being closed and sporting events postponed has created a lot of downtime for those practicing social distancing from the coronavirus.

But what kind of impact can social distancing have on mental health?

“One of the hardest things that most people struggle with is when you have a situation that you don’t have any control over,” said Dr. David Dameron, a clinical psychologist at Mynd Matters Counseling in Chesterfield County.

Dr. Dameron says that it is important to keep your mind healthy by eating well, exercising and remaining in contact with family and friends.

“Letting people know ‘hey I’m here for you,'” added Dr. Dameron. “Maybe I can’t be there physically but I’m thinking about you.”

It is also important to keep track of changes to how others act, including yourself.

“Maintain contact through phone calls to friends,” Dr. Dameron said. “Checking in on them, checking in on the people who may be at greater risk and just maintaining that kind of connection.”

Dr. David Dameron, a clinical psychologist at Mynd Matters Counseling in Chesterfield County

Isolation can create a lonely feeling and understanding signs of negative mental health can go a long way.

“Changes in sleep. Changes in appetite. Changes in mood,” said Dr. Dameron. “Irritability, loss of drive or enthusiasm for things that they normally enjoy.”

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