EUGENE, Ore. -- The daily pandemic-era struggle of isolation and COVID-19 precautions continues into 2021, and physicians say that mental health impacts are becoming more serious, though prevention is possible through staying in contact with friends and family.
According to Oregon Medical Group family nurse practitioner Elizabeth Dhungana, mental health concerns have gotten progressively worse over the past months.
"It's a real big problem that's been developing over time and maybe it's reached its peak for some people," she said.
Withdrawing from social interactions, a lack of motivation and feeling like you don't want to get out of bed are just a few signals that it may be time to contact a doctor. However, Dhungana said engaging in social interaction over video chat or the phone can serve as a preventative measure.
"Being happy, smiling, all these emotions, good emotions, help you release endorphins naturally, and can help boost your immunity," she said.
According to Dhungana, even those who have family members or roommates in their home pods that they can physically interact with may be experiencing pandemic-related depression and anxiety for any number of reasons.
Expanding your social circle via online solutions can still help to release endorphins as well as reinforcing a support system that can help identify emerging mental health issues.
"If your loved ones, your close ones, are noticing a change in you, most definitely I encourage them to reach out and mention. That can be a very difficult subject to bring up, but that person may not be aware. If their loved ones can recognize that I think it's an excellent idea," said Dhungana.