For many New Yorkers, it may feel like there’s no escape from coronavirus, with the endless news headlines and its impact on our families, friends, and communities.
“It has been chaos, and that causes stress,” said Alberto Perez, a social worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “We’re dealing with a lot.”
Perez helps patients in the behavioral health unit cope with their emotions and also with events in their life. Lately, he said, because of the pandemic, more people have been visiting Metropolitan’s drop-in counseling center to speak with a professional about their mental health.
Social Worker Alberto Perez of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
The New York City Department of Health reports that 44 percent of adult New Yorkers are experiencing anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 35 percent of adults say that the virus is having a negative impact on the well-being of a child in their home.
People are struggling with depression and anxiety about widespread illness, separating from their families and friends, job loss and prolonged isolation, Perez said. It’s tiring, and he has seen the effect on his own family. They began to argue more, and conflicts in the home increased.
“We all finally said, ‘let’s take a step back,’” he said. “This isn’t just our problem, it’s one for our entire society. We’re victims of circumstances, but we can turn this around.”
He and his family now make time to eat dinner together, plan a family night and also go hiking and walking outdoors even when it’s cold. He and his wife also watch a comedy or something uplifting before bed so that they go to sleep and wake up in an upbeat mood.
Everybody is different, Perez said, so what works for one person may not for another. But look for things that help you relax, and try to include more of that in your life.
Here are 7 tips to help you reduce stress during the pandemic:
To speak with a mental health provider, call 1-844-692-4692 and we’ll connect you with a professional who is right for you.