Coronavirus and election stress, what a mental health expert says to help cope with it all

Posted at 3:14 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 15:14:31-04

We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a presidential election. Millions of Americans are out of work and we all have suffered some big changes to normal life.

“Things are just always up in the air. You never know that day is going to look like and it just creates a lot of stress in my life,” said Dr. April Patterson.

Hundreds of thousands of South Floridians are feeling the same way as Dr. April Patterson. Stressed and overwhelmed.

“In reference to the stress, my body and my health I’m actually at a much less weight than I’m usually at. This creates an issue [because] I’m trying to have a second baby,” said Dr. Patterson.

Mental health challenges have risen dramatically. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 1 in 5 adults say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year.

“About 2/3 of people in the U.S. reported that the election was a significant source of stress in their life. That’s compared to about half for the last election. People are definitely more stress right now for so many different reasons than they were last year or for the previous election,” said Antonella Grana, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for South Florida Integrative Medicine.

Symptoms of stress include headaches, sleepless nights and gastrointestinal issues.

Antonella says some tips to cope with stress include taking a break from social media, exercising and keeping in touch with your family and friends.

“Whether it’s through text message, whether it’s through FaceTime, we’re social beings we need that connection with other people. Making it a point to talk to someone is not only good for you but you can also be helping someone else,” said Antonella.

As for Dr. Patterson, she’s trying to juggle all of her responsibilities of being a mother and an owner of her own private practice by taking it day by day. For her it’s most important to keep her family and customers safe.

“In our office we do have private rooms and I’ve always worn a shield a face mask and barriers so these things aren’t new to us. We always practice the safety standards that we need in order to protect ourselves,” said Dr. Patty.

We understand this has a been a stressful year. If you or someone you know is in need, you can find more information on how to reach the right doctors here.