Local therapist discusses psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic

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Efforts to control and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are just now starting to relax a little with the state reopening 100% this week.  But according to a local therapist, the pandemic’s impact over the past year has led to an increase in patients seeking professional care.

"I think that if there's something positive that we've seen on our end - is that the stigma that normally is attached to mental health was in one way or another eradicated because I think it became something so normal," Roxanne Pacheco, the executive director of Hope Family Health Center said.

According to Pacheco, since the start of the pandemic, she and her colleagues have seen a 40% increase in requests for counseling services at her non-profit medical and counseling center.

One of Pacheco’s greater concerns is young children who haven't witnessed anything but the pandemic due to them growing accustomed to current COVID-19 protocols such as facial coverings, hand washing and social distancing.  

That level of exposure could lead children to develop troubling patterns as they get older, Pacheco said.

"So we're going to be perhaps be seeing more of the OCD type of behavior,” Pacheco said. “You'll see a lot of kids and they're constantly washing their hands because they're mimicking and they became regulated based on who is around them, and to them that is becoming normal."

Pacheco said the best way to get through the emotions of the pandemic is to get professional help.

Those in need of counseling can call the Hope Family Health Center 956-994-3319.


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