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New normal could trigger mental health concerns, health experts say

Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 22, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. — Behavioral health experts at CHI Health say people should take it slowly as they reintegrate into a more normal life. They say the transition could bring stress and anxiety to all ages.

"We may feel a little awkward, a little come slower at initiating what would've come very normally to us before," said Dr. Jo Ranga, a child psychiatrist, who explained that we should look at it as a slow walk back to normal.

She said it will be okay, "It's just a matter of practice and time." These feelings of anxiety could come up for work settings, school, social outings.

As for kids, Dr. Ranga said, "I think we have to brace for impact. I think we are going to see more symptoms of anxiety. Students have had learning losses."

Dr. Ranga said signs of anxiety include becoming irritable or withdrawing. Kids may even develop more headaches or stomach aches. She said parents should set up structures like regular sleep times, meal times, and playtimes. She also said to check in with your kids.

Therapist Joe Nelson suggested that it may help to arrange meetings or check-ins with your kids so they know it's a safe time and place to voice any concerns or feelings.

He said one out of every four people seeking therapy last year we're trying it for the first time.

"The stigma around mental health is starting to be lifted, more people than ever before have been willing to seek out counseling and there's more of an understanding and acceptance of it and that's a really, really important piece," said Nelson.

He hopes more people realize that anyone can seek mental health services and it's good to learn coping skills.

This story was first published by Jennifer Griswold at KMTV.