More patients seek counseling during two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 17:18:44-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— More people are turning to mental health professionals to manage the stress of the pandemic.

One doctor says patients are suffering from fear, stress and anxiety, and COVID-19 isn’t the only cause.

Dr. JaNaè Taylor is a licensed professional counselor based in Virginia Beach, a podcaster and consultant focused on providing mental health services to the black community.

She says she is seeing more people come back to counseling or start counseling for the first time during the pandemic. Taylor says at one point she was seeing more clients via telehealth than she could handle.

“I was seeing up to eight clients a day and it got to a point where I was trying to squeeze in nine.”

For her own mental health and wellness, she eventually set her cap at eight patients a day.

Alexandria Davis, CEO of Milestone, a community mental health program in Portsmouth, says business has been consistent during a time when many businesses are struggling.

Davis says her business has received “a lot of referrals lately because of the pandemic.”

“Social workers, human services workers are essential throughout the entire process, especially in a pandemic wjereso much anxiety has been increased with what's going on in the world.”

Taylor says the COVID-19 pandemic is one of two pandemics for Black Americans. She says racism is the other.

“It's creating instances of racial trauma for those of us in the Black community and that's something that we have to deal with.”

Taylor says many clients come to her for help with stress and anxiety but COVID-19 and racism are at the root of the issues.

“They are walking around with true fear— fear for their lives in a whole bunch of ways in terms of [their] health and [their] life as it relates to both of these pandemics. “

Taylor believes telemedicine is helping to break the stigma of seeking out mental health professional, a promising sign for healthy minds.

For anyone who is struggling, Taylor says community it key.

“Don't get isolated, stay connected. If you can't find anybody in your immediate community, look to some digital spaces to find some places of community.”

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