▶️ COVID-19 taking its toll on more than those infected

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

You’ve watched the news, you’ve read the headlines.

Since its rapid spread to more than 80 countries, coverage of the coronavirus has been almost impossible to avoid.

Mental health experts say it takes a toll on the general population.

“I have patients who are coming in specifically because of their anxiety,” said Bend-based clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Conner.

Connor posted a notice on his door Monday that asks that anyone who has a fever or cough, has recently traveled to affected areas or believes that may have been exposed to an individual under investigation for the coronavirus to call him instead of entering the office.

He’s also kept his office spotless both for health reasons, and to help reassure patients.

“Sort of tells them a little bit about this is a clean office and what we do to keep it clean, but also when they come in they see that it is a clean place and there’s a lot of soap and hand sanitizer and things in here for people,” Conner said.

For those currently suffering from anxiety surrounding COVID-19, Connor recommends avoiding national news.

“In fact, what I tell patients is that they should just watch local news because what’s happening locally is really what you need to focus on and that seems to help people,” he said.

And remember the fear is in your head.

“One thing that I talk with patients about is to remember that danger is real but fear is a choice and fear is really a product of your imagination,” he said.

For more resources on how to talk to your children about COVID-19 visit https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource.

For accurate information on the spread of the virus, visit the Deschutes County Health Services website at http://www.deschutes.org/covid19

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