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ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson discussed the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent comments to The Batesville Daily Guard.
“The disruption and threat caused by COVID-19 have affected individuals’ personal, familial, faith, and work lives,” Dr. Thompson said. “The steps that we’ve had to take ― not being able to visit our loved ones in nursing homes or hospitals, disruption of our regular church services, not being able to have our usual social experiences ― have been stressful on everyone. The stressors of the pandemic clearly have increased mental health stressors, likely leading to increases in mental health conditions and the abuse of substances. The fact that the pandemic happened during a divisive election year compounded these stresses on individuals.”
He added, “I encourage everyone to reach out to friends, family members, strangers, and just ask, ‘How are you doing?’”
Dr. Thompson’s comments preceded this week’s winter storms, which have placed additional stress on Arkansans. He discussed the potential impacts of winter weather on the spread of COVID-19 in a recent interview with KATV.