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Coping with stress and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic

Local mental health experts recommend finding small ways to take a break when outside circumstances seem overwhelming.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Navigating the changing circumstances around the coronavirus pandemic is something local mental health experts say can add extra stress. This is particularly true when also dealing with financial strain that some have dealt with as a result of the pandemic.

Erin M. Moss is a licensed mental health counselor in Buffalo and told 2 On Your Side that she has seen an increase in the need for her services from her patients. 

At her office, Erin M. Moss Mental Health Counseling Private Practice, Moss says she has clients of varying backgrounds and ages who all have needed more appointments to work through what is happening. 

"It’s OK for them to feel their feelings and I always say that. People feel sometimes ashamed to have the feeling that they have. They shouldn’t be sad. They shouldn’t be anxious and you know it’s OK for them to be feeling this. Everyone is feeling this," Moss said. 

Moss explained that her colleagues in the mental health industry describe current events as two pandemics. There's the health pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus and also racism. 

Moss told 2 On Your Side, that the coronavirus pandemic brought more issues surrounding racial injustice to the forefront and that's why it's important for people to make sure they take their time to process whatever they are feeling and seeing so they don't feel overwhelmed. 

Dr. Tikana Truitt, a mental health counselor based in Amherst expressed something similar. 

Truitt says, the uncertainty over everything that has happened over the last several months is a common topic with her patients. 

"No one knows exactly what things are going to look like in the future. And so it’s really being able to have some sort of flexibility and really being able to roll with whatever change might be happening in the future," Truitt said.  

She also mentioned the extra stress surrounding conversations about racism and the violent images we’re seeing.  She says it’s important to remember that the conversations, when they’re constructive, are necessary. Approaching these conversations with the same flexibility as the stress surrounding the pandemic will be helpful as well. 

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