Local psychiatrist warning about mental health during social distancing

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — According to Mental Health America, one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many changes in people’s lives, including the financial pressures and daily routines. Dr. Ahmed Faheem with Appalachian Psychiatric Services said people can experience stress, anxiety and fear during the pandemic.

“Whenever there is a threat to the body and its existence on a day to day basis, it’s going to create a lot of anxiety and fear and fight type of reaction,” Faheem said.

Faheem said mental illness is proven to be passed on from generation to generation. Families with a history of mental illness are warned to take extra precautions during this uncertain time.

“They need to make sure that if they are on any certain medications they keep making sure they take it and they don’t skip it,” Faheem said. “They keep in touch with the people that they are seeing for their treatment, even if it is with telephone, we are doing a lot of telephone contacts and everything.”

During a time of social distancing, Dr. Faheem said staying in contact with family and friends is key.

“Make sure that you have somebody that is available, that knows what you are going through and what you are talking about that you have that line of communication open,” Faheem said. “You also use your other support systems whether it is your family or friends or your well wishes.”

Faheem said there are many signs of depression and mental illness.

“If they are more restless, if they are sleepless, if they are on the edge all the time, if they are getting more irritable and angry, if they are making more negative comments towards themselves or somebody else,” Faheem explained.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental health issues, reach out to the suicide helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

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