Mental health experts provide advice for transitioning out of pandemic life

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 1:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In 2020, everything changed. Schools closed, people were sent home from work, families and friends were asked to social distance.

While restrictions have eased some over the year, now that vaccines are going to more people and cases are going down, a new normal is within reach.

But mental health experts with CHI Health are wanting to make sure you can make that transition smoothly.

Nelson said one in four people who entered mental health therapy during the pandemic were experiencing mental health struggles for the first time.

“Our country has never gone through something like this before,” Joe Nelson, a licensed independent mental health practitioner said.

But now, we’re almost on the other side, and some people may have anxiety about re-integrating into society.

Dr. Jo Ranga, child psychologist with CHI Health said to take a “slow walk” back to the new normal.

“Be mindful that we’ve been through an earth shattering pandemic and there’s no one way to do it; you’re going to have to listen to ourselves as we get back into the world,” Dr. Ranga said.

Their advice for someone going back to school or work for the first time in a year would be to ease in slowly and bring supplies with you that make you feel more at home.

For the friends and family of those struggling, their advice is to listen.

“Be willing to show understanding and compassion for other people. This has been a painful season in a lot of people’s lives,” Nelson said.

For children, who may not be able to express their anxieties, watch out for behavior changes and symptoms like headaches and stomachaches.

“Show them they’re not in this by themselves, normalize and validate their feelings,” Dr. Ranga said.

She also said providing a structured schedule can help ease anxiety for children.

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