Wilk, doctors discuss how to address mental health amid COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
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From how to cope with a lost loved one amid the pandemic to ways to build up an immune system, two Antelope Valley doctors offered advice Thursday during a tele-town hall hosted by state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. 

The virtual event was held with Dr. Rodger Girion, former head of the mental health unit at Antelope Valley Hospital; and Dr. Larry Stock, deputy mayor for health for the city of Lancaster. Their topics centered around the effects the coronavirus outbreak can have on mental health. 

Stay connected 

Some people have lost a loved one or might know someone who has lost a friend or family member due to COVID-19 or of other causes but, due to distancing measures, cannot gather and mourn together with others. 

For those finding it difficult to cope, Girion emphasized the importance of staying connected. 

“Physical distancing doesn’t mean we have to have social distancing. I would try to pair up with people who you share the loss with either through Skype or Zoom. If you lost somebody, stay in contact with the people who share the loss with you as much as possible and just be respectful; pain and loss have to be respected,” he said. 

Strengthen your immunity 

Building one’s immunity will become vital as states across the nation eventually reopen, doctors agreed. 

One way to do so is by incorporating physical activity and a regular sleep schedule, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol drinking, and consuming foods that are nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants, said Girion. 

Get tested and seek aid

Once testing becomes more readily available, Stock recommended that people take a COVID-19 test. 

“We want to know if we have the virus. We need to isolate (and) we need to quarantine our close contacts. We also want to know if we have antibodies because that could be a passport back to work and back to school,” he said. 

He also advised seeking medical attention for any emergencies one may face during the pandemic. 

“Don’t have emergencies at home. You don’t have to be scared. Come in, let us help you. That’s what the emergency rooms are for,” said Stock. 

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