From the Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota Blog:

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The COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted past a phase of stay at home orders, but the effects of the fear, isolation and stress caused by the many unknowns of this virus remain at the forefront of our everyday lives.

As we navigate a world of wearing masks out in public, limiting social gatherings and figuring out what our school and work environments will look like into the fall and beyond, the world continues to be filled with a great deal of unknowns.

And with the continued uncertainty—alongside the trauma and anxiety stirred by the recent unrest following the unjust death of George Floyd—more and more people are experiencing adverse impacts on their mental health.

To gain a better understanding of how the pandemic has affected mental health, we had a conversation with Dr. Steven Sehr, senior medical director for behavioral health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Dr. Ryan Van Wyk, specialty lead for the North Memorial Health Mental Health Services Center.

“As time has gone on, we are seeing more of the effects of social isolation. There’s depression, a significant rise in severe substance abuse, despair, isolation and hopelessness,” Dr. Sehr said.

“In some cases, this pandemic has exacerbated symptoms for people previously coping with trauma, validating their sense of fear that the world is not safe—and heightening their sense of threat. So, that has stirred up a lot of symptoms that people may have been managing in a more effective way prior to the pandemic,” Dr. Van Wyk said.

Click here to read the full Q&A from these experts on ways we can support one another to work through these challenging times.

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