Expert Pitch
Tulane University

Expert says mental health challenges remain as lockdown lifts

28-May-2020 1:05 PM EDT, by Tulane University

Tonya Hansel, DSW program director at the Tulane University School of Social Work, is an expert in disaster mental health and trauma.

As communities around the world begin lifting public health precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hansel says mental health challenges will likely remain.

Hansel and other experts from the Tulane School of Social Work are drawing on research following previous disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, to illuminate what pandemic recovery might look like.

“This is technically a biological disaster, and we know disasters affect people’s mental health,” Hansel said. “Our bodies are amazing at handling stress, but when it compounds over a long time, it can be too much.”

Some people may be depressed over ongoing financial problems. Others, particularly those with underlying health conditions, may be fearful of going out and concerned that so many people are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Parents may be worried about the upcoming school year, and with many camps closed, anxious over having children in the house all summer.  Those in coastal communities have the added burden of preparing for hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Hansel describes the stress like boiling water in a pot. If the heat isn’t reduced, the water can boil over.

“Too much stress can result in both physical and mental health problems,” she said. “An important thing to watch for is a lack of interest or ability to do ‘normal’ things or finding little to no joy in things that you used to do.”

She recommended focusing on things that are controllable, including the following:

  • Continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Reduce exposure to news coverage.
  • Consider holding a small outdoor dinner party or bunch or meet up with friends at a park.
  • Continue to support friends who may be fearful of going out. Offer to do their shopping or errands, check in with them by phone or internet and try to include them remotely when possible.
  • Continue to support front-line workers by providing meals to them or sending cards or emails to let them know you’re thinking of them.

As communities experience additional phases of recovery, people will go through corresponding emotional phases, Hansel said. “This disaster is tricky. The phases are not as clear; however, it is likely to follow typical patterns of disaster response. Given the staggering loss of life and prolonged grieving, it may take longer than a year to reach our new normal.”

The Tulane School of Social Work has developed a self-care website which features guided meditation videos, online yoga videos, tips for indulging yourself and mental health hotlines.


Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5639
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-May-2021 2:40 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Access to overdose-reversing drugs declined during pandemic, researchers find
Beth Israel Lahey Health

In a new study, clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) analyzed naloxone prescription trends during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and compared them to trends in opioid prescriptions and to overall prescriptions.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT
No Excuses: Stop Procrastinating on These Key Health Checks
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

A quick guide to the most-valuable preventive care that adults need to get scheduled, to catch up on what they may have missed during the height of the pandemic, and to address issues that the pandemic might have worsened.

Released: 13-May-2021 7:05 PM EDT
FLCCC Statement on the Irregular Actions of Public Health Agencies & the Disinformation Campaign Against Ivermectin
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

FLCCC Alliance calls for whistleblower to step forward from within WHO, the FDA, the NIH, Merck, or Unitaid to counter this misrepresentation

Newswise: shutterstock_1724336896.jpg
Released: 13-May-2021 12:55 PM EDT
Kreuter receives $1.9 million in grants to increase vaccinations in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Matthew Kreuter, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health at the Brown School, has received $1.9 million in grants to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among Blacks in St. Louis City and County.

Released: 13-May-2021 11:35 AM EDT
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines are Immunogenic in Pregnant and Lactating Women, Including Against Viral Variants
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

In a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers evaluated the immunogenicity of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnant and lactating women who received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. They found that both vaccines triggered immune responses in pregnant and lactating women.

Released: 13-May-2021 10:30 AM EDT
Pandemic stigma: Foreigners, doctors wrongly targeted for COVID-19 spread in India
Monash University

The Indian public blamed foreigners, minority groups and doctors for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country during the first wave, due to misinformation, rumour and long-held discriminatory beliefs, according to an international study led by Monash University.

Released: 13-May-2021 9:15 AM EDT
28 Community Programs Receive Grants Through Penn Medicine CAREs Program
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine CAREs awarded grants to 28 projects, many of which aim to fill vast needs in the community created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others seek to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Showing results

110 of 5639