California deals with mental health concerns amid COVID-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. With people out of work, money is tight and staying indoors all day can be challenging.

But how is California coping mentally?

Fears about coronavirus and job losses makes for a stressful time. Experts say for some it's taking a toll on their mental well-being.

"I just want folks to know that staying at home doesn't mean you're alone," Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

Newsom expressed concern about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the mental health of Californians.

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"Struggling because they lost their job and they don't have a paycheck. Struggling because their kids aren't at school," Newsom said.

The state of California is providing resources - offering help to people who may feel stressed or depressed. In Southern California, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is getting hundreds of call on its crisis helplines about issues related to COVID-19.

"The No.1 issue is anxiety and stress. It's a really uncertain time for people, and it's a scary time right now and we don't know when it's going to end," said Lyn Morris, Senior V.P. at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

The streets of normally busy shopping areas are quiet. Adults and children are unable to engage in every day activities, like going to the park or working out. Health officials are urging people to avoid gatherings during upcoming holidays.

"We have to find ways to honor our 'Safer at Home order' and to be safe while we're together emotionally, but apart physically," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County public health director.

"Definitely reach out and monitor your own health, whether that is your mental health or your physical health at this point. And, reach out for support. Be mindful everyday of how you're feeling and what you can do to help yourself get through the day," Morris said.

The state of California has more than 15 hotline numbers and other resources offering emotional support.

For information on mental health resources, click here.
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