PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The holidays can be a tough time for people who may struggle with loneliness, depression, or suicidal thought.
With COVID-19 adding extra stress this year, FOX 12 talked with local doctors about their concerns during this difficult time.
Dr. Alan Teo, Associate Psychiatry Professor at OHSU, says there are two groups of people that worry him during this time year: those who are prone to loneliness—like people who live alone—and those who are deferring care, not only physically, but also mentally. Teo says people who might be prone to loneliness or who have a rough time during the holidays have a tendency to isolate themselves even further. Teo recommends they reach out to a professional for help, or even just video chat with friends and family members.
Teo says he's continuing to see people put off routine check-ups, including therapy sessions they may need. He says people need to remember that they still need to maintain the level of care they received before the pandemic began. He says they should not be afraid to get the help and resources they need.
Teo also encourages people to look at their health holistically, which includes mental health, to pay close attention to what our body and mind is trying to tell us.
"Pain is a signal that you need to go attend to that, thirst is a signal that, you know, I need to refill up my drink here, right?" Teo said. "Loneliness is actually thought by many people as a biologic signal that we need to connect with people, and so yeah, there’s no shame in that. It’s just, think of it as a signal for us to reach out and connect with other people.”
If you are struggling with loneliness, depression, or suicidal thoughts and need to talk with someone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8235. Someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you can text or use the chat function on their website.
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