Some experience mental anguish as states continue to open back up

Posted at 1:24 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 07:02:17-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As states open back up, anxiety becomes overwhelming for some people.

There have been reports from around the country of fights breaking out in public areas over people not wearing masks.

Experts say tensions can be high as many people are feeling under stress.

“Americans tend to be very opinionated,” said Gary Rotfus, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Virginia Beach. “I think people are under a lot of stress to begin with, and tempers flare more when people are under a lot of stress.”

He said people are handling new regulations differently and have different medical concerns and strong opinions about how others should be behaving in public.

“Our well-being is important. We have to keep try to keep ourselves healthy. I’m not just talking about physical health; there’s also mental health,” said Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, Professor and Old Dominion University Chair of the School of Community & Environmental Health.

“There are going to be segments of people that are very carefree about being out and then you get people that want to be very cautious,” said Rotfus. “I think it’s going to be very easy for one group to infringe on the other group.”

One study found that 70% of people in the United States experienced moderate to severe mental distress last month.

Experts say you may need help if you are experiencing loss of sleep, loss of interest in things you like doing, having suicidal thoughts or extreme mood changes.

The CDC has information on their website on how to handle stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to view that information.

“I think in a crisis like this, it has the possibility of bringing out the best in us and bringing out the worst in us,” said Rotfus. “We are all in this together, regardless of what our opinion or political background is or perspective.”

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.