BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– During the COVID-19 pandemic people are socially distancing themselves to keep from contracting the virus. Even with the United States passing 500,000 deaths related to COVID-19, states like West Virginia are starting to ease restrictions.
Dr. Ahmed Faheem, a local psychologist, said the change is leading more people to face pandemic related anxiety for the first time.
“They are afraid to go out of the house even when now things are being eased up and people can go do more they are afraid to do so,” Faheem said.
Faheem added high school age kids are among the population seeing the biggest increase in anxiety. He warns parents to be mindful of what your child could be going through, and not to be afraid to have conversations with them. Faheem said parents need to be protective, but not over protective.
“If the proper precautions are taken and the kids are adequately protected let them get out, let them get out of the house, let them go to school, let them participate in some of the outdoor activities with the proper distancing and the proper precautions,” Faheem said.
Faheem said the biggest thing for parents, is to make certain their children are informed. Those who are suffering from mental illness during the pandemic are encouraged to check in with their doctor more often, and keep an eye out for family and friends. Faheem explained there are signs to watch for, even if someone doesn’t suffer from mental illness:
“If they are showing change in their behavior extreme anxiety inappropriate fears very disproportionate to what can be expected under the circumstance,” Faheem said. “Don’t let people go from one extreme to another just be there.”
If you suffer from mental illness, don’t be afraid to ask for help or talk to someone.
You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)