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[00:00:00]

I'm Charles Payne, I'm Martha McCallum. I'm Greg Gerard, and this is the Fox News rundown. Wednesday, August, twenty six, twenty twenty, I'm against in the battle against covid-19, some of the stay at home measures and new restrictions continue to affect the mental health of people around the world.

[00:00:20]

The idea of trying to get back to some level of normalcy, but also having this kind of these reminders of the whole uncertainty and changes that we have to adjust to are adding to the stress that we were already feeling. This is the Fox News rundown. Global pandemic. The coronavirus affects everyone in a different way, with some lockdown still in place, schools struggling to reopen and millions out of a job, there is a real impact on mental health. Over the next few minutes, you'll get the latest headlines on the global covid-19 outbreak and hear from psychologist and associate professor at the University of New Haven, Dr Melissa Whitsun, about how the coronavirus is affecting your mental health.

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Before we begin a warning, some of the topics we're covering today include suicide, depression and anxiety. If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can reach a crisis hotline by dialing one 800 273 talk starting first in Hong Kong, where a man who previously had grown a virus has reportedly tested positive. Again, the strain he was allegedly infected with this time is different. In the world's first documented case of this happening, it raises questions about how long immunity to covid-19 last once you recover and how effective a vaccine will be.

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Now to Canada. That is still adding hundreds of cases a day to its total. Reports say 100000 Canadians have recovered from the virus and more than six million have been tested. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an announcement today, saying the government will give around one point five billion U.S. dollars to provinces to help with schools reopening this fall. Finally, in the United Kingdom, scientists believe they have identified who was the first covid-19 victim in the U.K. A 75 year old woman tested positive on February 21st.

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This indicates the virus was spreading before it was publicly known. Also in the U.K. this week, reports say mental health calls in Manchester have doubled since covid-19 restrictions went into place. This has prompted police to have more specialized units respond. This isn't just a problem, though, in the U.K. It's an issue all around the world.

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Well, I don't think that things have gotten all that much better since most people can attest.

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This is Dr. Melissa Whitsun, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Haven.

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Unfortunately, we haven't seen the improvements in the pandemic that we were all hoping for over the summer months. And then that's been coupled with extra stressors on top of that, in terms of the racial unrest in the country. The you know, now in California, there's wildfires, there's hurricanes, there's all these other natural disasters mounting on top of things. And so it's just adding more stress, more uncertainty, more feelings of lack of control for people and for many people, particularly parents rights, school years are starting or not starting.

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And there's a lot of uncertainty around that and stress. So the idea of trying to get back to some level of normalcy, but also having, you know, this kind of these reminders of the whole uncertainty and changes that we have to adjust to are adding to the stress that we were already feeling. And I think a lot of people are reacting that it feels like, you know, we haven't made these improvements and we don't know when this is going to end.

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So I think for some people, there's a little bit more feeling kind of demoralized or despair or just kind of even a numbness around what to do in this situation. The longer the pandemic goes on, I imagine it changes the way people experience all of the results, whether it's job loss or anxiety around health concerns. The list really goes on. But does it change the way things get diagnosed in the mental health world in terms of people who are dealing with acute anxiety or depression that are now experiencing this for such a long time because the pandemic continues that it turns into a more long term case?

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Well, I do think that the impacts on mental health, you know, well, we're already going to be somewhat long term for a lot of people, but maybe not as severe. But I do think it's going to have an impact where how people are coping with this is going to change now that it's this longer term issue that we're dealing with and there's all these other stressors on top of that. So the symptoms that people are experiencing and how they're coping with it will certainly impact those diagnoses.

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The the diagnoses themselves don't change if people meet the symptom criteria for a diagnosis, that's a diagnosis they receive. But the number of people that will meet those symptom criteria will more than likely increase or people that already have symptoms. And they will probably be exacerbated, at least for the time being. So we'll see that, you know, our our mental health, our physiological systems are just completely overwhelmed and exhausted. And so that's going to have mental health repercussions for lots of people.

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But it's going to look different, right, as we talk. About earlier, depending on how you tend to cope with things, how you react to things, some people will become more depressed and withdrawn. Some people will become more anxious and worry a lot. Other people might become more aggressive. Right. And people are finding some outlets for that. Unfortunately, a lot of it seems to be directed towards the political spectrum right now because of the upcoming election.

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But those are outlets where you might see people expressing some of those things that might be just from, you know, their general mental health and stress. And these are some ways we can kind of get it out. We talk a lot when we look at diseases and viruses like covid-19 about things like asymptomatic experiences and transmission of a virus. Is there ever this sort of concept in the area of mental health? Are there people who right now aren't experiencing any sort of reaction to the current state of affairs but later on could be affected by what they're experiencing now?

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Well, we don't really call it necessarily asymptomatic, but it's a little bit different than a physiological disease because, you know, those symptoms aren't always just when you know something is going on. Like, if you have a virus, typically you have some symptoms or you might not. But, you know, in regards to mental health, people's reactions and how their mind and body are reacting to things is going to vary over time. And and so oftentimes only have a traumatic event in the moment.

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We're OK because our coping mechanisms step up our fight or flight flight, you know, our adrenaline, everything kind of takes over and so work for a little while. It's when things calm down and then we don't have to process that trauma when we really start kind of struggling with other symptoms that come up in terms of being able to function in our everyday life. So we might see something similar in regards to this. Right. This is kind of a chronic trauma, collective trauma that we're all experiencing.

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So some of us are just kind of trying to survive and get through it, although we're exhausted and depending on your resources and your protective factors, some people are doing that better than others or their current contextual situation because some people just don't have supports and resources and have a lot of risk factors. But even those that seem to be doing well now at some point, right. Once they're once this is kind of over and they're going back to their everyday lives, there will be some repercussions for that.

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And so we might see some people then, you know, dealing with symptoms that they weren't before because they were in such a kind of, you know, survival mode that now that they're back to normal, they can kind of process it and then might bring up things for people.

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You've been listening to psychologist Dr. Melissa Whitsun. We'll be right back from Fox News podcasts. The campaign with prepared there with updates from reporters on the trail and in studio experts keeps you informed on the 2020 race. Go to Fox News podcast Dotcom and download the campaign with Brett Baer now. You talk about the resources that are available. Could you go into that a little bit more? And then also, when does mental health become an emergency that needs immediate attention?

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Is there a line for people if they're unsure, you know, they're experiencing feelings they haven't felt before and they don't really know what the next step should be?

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Right. Also, first, the resources. Right. Sometimes in the research, we call this protective factors, but these are things that help increase our ability to to buffer negative things we experience and increase our resilience. And so resources, particularly related to being able to cope with a pandemic are, you know, things like health insurance. Right. In terms of being able to access mental health services from providers and being able to access just general physical health because it's so associated with our mental health that it is a resource that not everybody has or that some people have, you know, a better health insurance provider than others.

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Other types of resources will depend on your situation. So obviously related to job loss in the economy. Right? Money is a resource. And then those basic needs like being able to access healthy foods, being able to access other types of supports. And for a lot of people who are also seeing, you know, the resource of child care becoming a large issue and the resources that your school has because that indirectly affects families or directly affects families. So those are some examples of the resources that people that have more of those in place generally tend to do a little bit better.

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The people that don't have those resources. And that's not blanket true. But we're just across the averages. The more resources that you have, oftentimes, the better off you're able to cope with trauma or these types of negative and adverse experiences. So that's kind of like an example of the resources. And there are other resources there, too. Having just social support is really important. So isolated families, single parent families that aren't able to connect with extended families or other types of social supports are going to be struggling a little bit more.

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And in terms of, you know, having a line that line, it tends to be a little bit different for different people. I mean, there are certain like red flags that we look for. Certainly, if you ever feel like you, you know, you want to harm yourself or harm others, that's obviously the biggest red flag that you should try to reach out and access help in any way you can. But for other people, it is really about tuning into you and how you're doing, which we don't often do enough.

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So taking stock of where you're at, you know, everyone is going to be stressed having that kind of understanding, but thinking about how are you doing in terms of functioning through your everyday activities and meeting your basic needs. And and so for for different people, that line is different, but kind of tuning into yourself and thinking, I'm really struggling right now, I should probably access the resources or I'm not able to get out of bed, I'm not able to eat properly or sleep and is now becoming a long term thing.

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Usually it's a good time to kind of try and reach out and find some support or resources or more official mental health services. So I think it's about tuning into yourself and knowing yourself and paying attention to those signs are really important. My last question, and we touched on this before, but I think listeners found this very helpful. What are some tips that you would give to people who don't require any sort of immediate mental health attention, but they're feeling off and they're feeling maybe a little bit anxious about the situation.

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What are some home remedies that people could try to feel a little bit better?

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Yeah, so a lot of the things that we mentioned last time can still be helpful. So a lot of this has to do around self care things where not only are you paying attention to how you're feeling, but you're doing things to take care of yourself. That means, you know, trying to continue to eat as healthy as possible. Sometimes, you know, when we're feeling all these symptoms, we just kind of want to hunker down and eat foods that are unhealthy for us.

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It's okay to do that every once in a while. But generally, we will feel better if we're eating, eating more healthily and and trying to get sleep, even if it's hard. Trying to kind of a lot time for the sleep when you can. I know that a lot of people that are juggling many hats are struggling to find that type of sleep, but that's health care is really important and other things that can kind of help calm down our physiological system, because as I talked about last time, it's very activated right now in response to all this trauma and response to this survival mode that everybody's in the breathing meditation.

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Going for a walk and being with nature, the weather is so nice, you know, in the Northeast especially so trying to do things that can kind of calm and ground to us is very helpful in terms of calming down that physiological reaction. And it's really important to when we talk about some of the stress that caregivers feel caregivers of young children or older parents or things like that. You know, a lot of research that I've done has shown that how kids respond to trauma is a large part of that is due to how their parents or caregivers are responding.

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Right. And so that's not meant to put pressure on parents or caregivers, but it's meant to enforce the fact that you need to be able to take care of yourself, to be able to take care of other people. Right. So and, you know, trust me, sometimes I don't walk the walk when I say that because I have two young kids and I struggle with that myself, but really trying to find some time for that self care, not only to help you, but it will help any any of those people that you care for.

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We always appreciate your perspective on this amid a very uncertain time for everyone who is listening. And I think these tips will be very useful to our listeners. Dr. Melissa Whitson, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Haven. Dr. Watson, thank you again for your time. Thank you so much. Take care.

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You've been listening to the Fox News rundown, and I'll stay up to date by subscribing to this podcast and Fox News podcasts, Dotcom and for up to the minute news, go to Fox News dot com.