Members of Roanoke community react to mental stresses of coronavirus pandemic


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — It’s been six months since the coronavirus pandemic impacted southwest Virginia. According to a recent report by the CDC, 40 percent of adults in America reported struggling with mental health or substance use in June due to COVID-19.

According to Roanoke resident, Elizbeth Hiel, “It has been stressful, and I think getting enough sleep seems to help my mental state.”

“Mostly okay, now and then I found myself getting discombobulated,” said Marge Sanders of Roanoke.

“It’s been tough, especially at the very beginning when things were on total lockdown with the little ones, and not being able to take them to play or do anything,” another Roanoke resident, Brooklyn Cole, said.

According to local counselor, Ardis Gregory, she’s seen an increase in stress and anxiety. This increase has a ripple effect on substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. Gregory says when people don’t have a sense of control, it increases anxiety, and those habits serve as coping mechanisms.

“I believe that’s because people are in close proximity to one another,” said Gregory. “The stress rolls over into a behavior, and fuses are shorter.”

There are quick ways to overcome those feelings brought on by the pandemic, as well as boost serotonin, which is the mood stabilizer in our brains:

  • Getting outside and enjoying some sunshine
  • Exercise and cardio
  • Positive thinking
  • Physical contact with loved ones, pets, etc.

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