Capitol riot, coronavirus taking toll on country’s mental health

(NBC News) The riot at the U.S. Capitol, and the possibility of more violent protests, are taking a toll on the country’s mental health. It comes atop an already difficult time as millions worry about rising COVID-19 case numbers, job losses, and food insecurity.

A Boston University study found rates of depression have tripled during the pandemic. Mayo Clinic psychologist Dr. Craig Sawchuk says that mental strain can manifest physically and emotionally.

“We may see that in terms of sleep disruptions; sleeping too much; headaches,” Sawchuk said. “We may find that we’re just more sad, or down. Maybe our emotions are a little bit more blunted or more irritable.”

Sawchuk suggests taking news and social media breaks or setting limits. You should also try to eat well, make sleep a priority and connect with those you care about.

“Doing things like that can help us stay reconnected with healthy supports in our life and start to build in some of those pressure relief valves that we’ve really been needing over time,” Dr. Sawchuk said.

When it comes to talking with kids, let them take the lead by asking what they already know and what worries them.

“It’s really important that we acknowledge, and we validate, the worries and the stressors, you know, that our kiddos have, but also be optimistic about the future,” Sawchuk said.

If you’re struggling with normal day-to-day responsibilities, experts recommend seeking help from a mental health professional.

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