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March 13, 2020 – “I do think it’s important to just normalize people’s experience of what’s happening,” said Lewis. “Everyone is going to feel some level of discomfort and anxiety right now, and it’s normal.”
But for some, the anxiety can rise to a clinical level during an outbreak. Lewis said people should be aware of symptoms including difficulty sleeping, changes in eating patterns, rapid changes in mood, inability to carry out required or necessary tasks, self-medication using alcohol and drugs and prolonged self-isolation.
“For those who may already struggle with feelings of isolation due to depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, social distancing could increase those feelings of loneliness and isolation,” Lewis said in an email. Preventative measures such as social distancing and quarantines can also inhibit access to vital health care for people with serious mental illnesses.