EL PASO, Texas -- During a pandemic, it is important to prioritize physical health. However, El Paso health leaders are urging the public to also focus attention on mental health, as the virus and its impact on society can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
"I think it has to do because of the little we know about it, the fact we have no proven treatment," said Dr. Marcelo Rodriguez, a mental health professional and Chief Medical Officer of Emergence Health Network. "I think that uncertainty plays a role here in a lot of the development of those fears."
Dr. Rodriguez warns this period of uncertainty can weigh heavier on those with preexisting mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders or depression. He recommends getting enough sleep and improving diet and nutrition. Dr. Rodriguez acknowledges the importance of staying informed about virus developments, but warns against consuming that information 24/7.
"The saturation of information, social media, all of those things are not really helping it because you're carrying it too far," he said. "There's such a thing as too much information and sometimes it might be more harmful than actually productive."
Dr. Rodriguez also recommended staying connected to friends and family, even if you must be apart to practice safe social distancing. It can help to talk problems out with others and find support. He also reminded that despite the virus and interruption to daily activities, it's important to remember the positive things in our lives we still have.
The CDC advises taking the time to participate in activities you enjoy during potentially increased time at home.