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Help is available for those struggling mentally during this pandemic

The Robert Young Mental Health Center has seen a steady stream of people for COVID-19 related mental health concerns.

MOLINE, Ill. — For some, the coronavirus pandemic is negatively affecting their mental health. A director at the Robert Young Mental Health Center in Moline says they're seeing a steady stream of people going through stress, anxiety or depression due to COVID-19 rapidly spreading throughout the world.

Director of In-Patient Services Joe Lilly says they've been relying mostly on telehealth to offer their patients the counseling and care they need to maintain social-distancing regulations.

Social distancing may be good for stopping the spread of the virus, but as Lilly explains, it can negatively affect people's mental health.

"Many of us have had to change our daily living," he explains. "It's had a tremendous impact on how we live our lives. That's a significant adjustment for everyone, and when you have to practice things like social distancing and isolation, it's very difficult. We're social beings. It's important to find ways to stay connected despite that."

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While mostly everyone seems to be feeling some pressure and stress because of the virus, it can be difficult to distinguish between regular, everyday stress and something that's a bit more serious.

Here are three ways to help differentiate between normal stress and a concerning level of stress. The feelings you're experiencing may need some additional help and attention if:

- the stress is causing a change in your mood or behavior.

- you're constantly thinking about the virus.

- you're having difficulty eating or sleeping because of it.

"There's so many things we don't control," Lilly says. "We can to a certain extent, of social distancing to help protect ourselves. But there are factors like our work impacted. So we have to focus on things we can control."

Lilly says some of the best ways to combat anxiety and depression include exercising, getting enough sleep and eating well.

If you or someone you know may need help coping with anxiety or depression, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Health hotline at 800-950-NAMI or text "NAMI" to 741-741.

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