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Second wave of COVID-19, protest violence adding to mental health crisis

Licensed professional counselor: 'Anxiety has become paralyzing for some people'

SAN ANTONIO – Hopes that the economy could reopen without problems and the flattening of the coronavirus curve are fading fast.

Record numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in San Antonio and across nation are not what many people were expecting after months of staying home and businesses shut down.

Dr. Adriana Dyurich, a licensed professional counselor at UT Health San Antonio said expectations that we would be on the other side of the pandemic by now is a big disappointment that is threatening our emotional well-being.

“Hope, it’s always important and hope is the one thing we cannot lose. But sometimes we go through the stages of grief. One of the things that we’re seeing a lot is the first stage of grief,” Dyurich said.

In rural Texas, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought more accessible mental health care

Dyurich said many people are in denial that their normal lives and social activities are not going to return soon.

And there’s a new stressor that has added to the emotional pain.

Dyurich said the protests for social justice along with the violent outbreaks from those protests is leading to more fear and anxiety.

“It’s definitely compounded because we now are seeing a society that’s at unrest because of the pandemic, and anxiety and unrest because of a social situation that we are experiencing,” she said.

There are warning signs that your mental health burden has become too much: Being too short with family members, crying more than normal and feeling life is not worth living are big trouble signs, she said.

There’s one more warning sign that may be harder to notice unless you are looking for it.

“Anxiety has become paralyzing for some people. So instead of being active you shut down,” Dyurich said. It may be a case of not wanting to leave to get out of the house or have conversations or connections with others.

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If that's becoming more and more the case in your life or in the life of someone you love, it is likely time to reach out for help.

Suicide and mental health hotlines are staffed with people aware of the emotional toll many are struggling with. In fact, some suicide prevention and counseling professionals are saying they are experiencing a 500% increase in demand for services.

Here is a list of numbers to call in Texas if you want to talk to someone about what you are feeling.

  • Texas COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: 833-986-1919
  • NAMI Texas: 512-693-2000
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • Suicide Prevention Line: 800-784-2433

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