WNY expert recommends ways to be physically and mentally healthy during coronavirus pandemic

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LEWISTON N.Y. (WIVB) -During the coronavirus pandemic, people are spending a lot of time indoors and keeping their distance from others, and a local health expert says this can take a toll on a person’s mental health.

“A lot of times people have under-lying mental health issues but they stay super busy in life and they say I’m just gonna go go go and I’m not going to worry about my mental health,” Licensed mental health therapist Janelle Pysz said. “Now that they’re kinda stuck, a lot of those mental health symptoms are coming up.”

Pysz says it’s not just people with underlying mental health issues feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Even individuals that have not suffered with anxiety and depression in the past are now with the pandemic, experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression,” She said

The anxiety and depression has a lot to do with a combination of stress and fear.

“You might just be very concerned more concerned than normal with your own health or the health of loved ones, you might have trouble eating or sleeping, you might notice that things that you normally do, you’re not taking enjoyment with,” Pysz said.

Pysz has her practice in Lewiston, but to limit the amount of people walking into the building she’s started providing teletherapy.

“Most insurance companies are now paying for Teletherapy which means if you’re at home and you’re isolated that you can absolutely reach out and get mental health services,” she said.

If you are experiencing anxiety and depression she recommends people find ways to improve their thoughts, eat healthy, move around and exercise.

“Your immune system is definitely directly effected by your thoughts and your behaviours so if you are under stress and you’re having a lot of negative thinking and you’re eating unhealthy and you’re producing a lot of cortisol you know that’s going to lower your immune system,” Pysz said.

Pysz said people may also be increasing their substance abuse during this time, and wants people to know that services and resources are out there

Numbers to call if you are in a crisis:

  • Niagara County Crisis Hotline 716-285-3515
  • Erie County Crisis Services 716-834-3131
  • Niagara County Help line 716-443-5432
  • Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990

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