The added stress of the pandemic is forcing mental health professionals to use the same coping strategies they prescribe


PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – COVID-19 has not only threatened our physical health, but our mental health as well.

Over the past 18 months, people have been encouraged to seek professional care to cope with the added stress of the pandemic.

From people facing job loss and locked at home with the difficult uncertainty of it all, psychologists and therapists have seen an increase in the number of new patients, adding to their already stressful workload.

When healthcare workers finish their shift, they physically leave their work in the hospital, but they bring with them the emotional burden that the long hours and the weight of human suffering have had on their well-being.

“It concerns us all. Me included. It’s an interesting experience where we are all affected by COVID in one way or another, ”said Dr Kristy Dalrymple.

Dalrymple is on the front line of treating mental and behavioral health patients at Rhode Island Hospital. She tells 12 News that just like ICU doctors, mental health professionals have faced incredible stress helping so many get through this difficult time.

“As things started to settle into this new way of life, that’s when it started to hit and people realized, ‘you know, I feel a little more of stress related to what is happening. “I try to deal with all of these things in my life,” she explained. “That’s when we really started to see an increase.”

Add to that the fact that appointments have become virtual, which has removed the personal touch of meeting people face to face, leaving these workers to feel the same feelings of loneliness and isolation that they help their patients. to cross, according to Dalrymple.

“We are sitting in an office where for a whole day we cannot see another person in person, so it can be very helpful to keep in touch with others,” she said.

As a result, many mental health professionals have turned to the same coping mechanisms they suggested for their patients. Dalrymple said for her that a five-minute walk in the fresh air outside her office helps her get through the day.

“It was important before the pandemic and especially now for, as behavioral health providers, that we take care of ourselves and develop these strategies so that we can take care of ourselves when we are at home, throughout the whole life. day at work. , so that we can better help those around us, ”Dalrymple added.

Dalrymple advised anyone who is struggling right now to seek help, saying it can make all the difference.

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