Mental health professionals offer pandemic tips | News

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Moseman said the segment of the population at risk in the long term likely will be relatively low. He hopes, however, the pandemic shines a light on challenges faced during the pandemic so the system will be able to withstand the demands of future public health crises. “As a physician I think what we have done has been worth it — to save lives, to mitigate and to keep ICUs open so other people can be treated — but there is an impact, and the mental health impact is big,” Moseman said Monday during the conference call, which focused on mental health issues. “We will experience it for months and years to come … This thing has got to get under control before we can start to look and see what the impact is.” Dr. Ondria Gleason, a psychiatrist at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, said during an ongoing public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic “it can be distressing” to constantly watch events over which people have no control. She said this can create a “psychological sense of distress.”

Muskogee County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said the number of new cases is trending downward in the county as well, with the seven-day rolling average for 60 new cases a day on a per capita basis. The 14-day rolling average for Muskogee County is 71 cases a day per 100,000 people.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday a seven-day rolling average of 2,260 new cases a day statewide. Public health officials cautioned that numbers may be skewed because of holiday-related data and testing interruptions during the Labor Day Holiday and on weekends.

Dr. Scott Moseman, a psychiatrist at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, said the pandemic also produced a greater demand for mental health services. He attributed much of that to a loss of social activities.  Robertson’s comments came during a weekly conference call, providing updates about the pandemic for local media outlets as the delta variant of the coronavirus fueled a fourth surge of new cases. Robertson said this surge, affecting primarily the unvaccinated and a younger segment of the population, resulted with more hospitalizations and ventilator usage.

Gleason said taking walks can “add that up day after day,” and “it really makes a big difference.”   “When you can, get outside,” Gleason said. “If you are outside in nature it really does a lot for your mental health and your physical health, it reduces anxiety and improves your mood, even in the short term.”

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