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How the Coronavirus is affecting mental health

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The state’s stay at home orders are meant to protect our physical health but the isolation and change of routine can also affect our mental health.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, crisis counselors at Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery’s crisis hotline answer calls from people at their lowest moments.

Since the Coronavirus started impacting our daily lives those calls have slightly gone up.

“We average about nine to 11 a day regarding COVID-19,” said Ellen Eggert, program support supervisor for Access to Care Hotline.

That’s out of an average of 94 total calls per day. so far this month, the center has reported an 8 percent increase in total calls since last month.

“They’re anxious about what’s happening next,” said Eggert. “This is whole new world for us.”

Top stressors range from fears about health issues, loneliness and financial stability.

“Normally when we have a natural disaster, like an earthquake or tornado, the disaster comes and goes and we deal with the aftermath,” said Eggert. “But with this, we’re just waiting for the shoe to drop.”

While people in all age groups are struggling, Eggert says teens and the elderly are particularly going through a tough time.

“Teens are so used to being around their peers and now they can’t,” said Eggert.  “Older people won’t reach out.”

She adds it’s natural for all of us to feel stressed during these uncertain times

“When you’re up to here with it, find something good because it is out there,” said Eggert. 

Eggert says their are certain steps you can take to overcome such anxiety.

“Deep breathing, focusing on things around your house, and most of all self-compassion and knowing that we’re going to get through this,” said Eggert. “It is going to get better.”

Eggert encourages anyone who needs to talk to someone to call the hotline. She says not only is her staff there to listen, but they too know exactly what these callers are feeling.

“We’re going through the same thing everyone else, but we come in because we know we’re helping,” said Eggert.

The crisis hotline is 800-991-5272 and the suicide prevention hotline is 800 273 8255.

Visit the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services website for additional services.

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