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Sep 3, 2020

Healthy Living: Getting Help Online

It was just twenty-four hours ago – the entire country was on edge as we prepared to face Hurricane Nana.  Fortunately, most of us woke up in better spirits as we all learned of Nana’s lackluster impact.  With last month’s surge of COVID cases and the ongoing threat of further spread—coupled with this week’s frantic hurricane preparations—emotionally, we have all been dealing with a lot. So in tonight’s Healthy Living, we look at options available for helping you cope. 


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Are you feeling out of sorts these days, less of yourself? Are you more tired, more irritable? Eating more or even less? Having frequent headaches or trouble sleeping? If you are, you should know that these are all signs of excessive stress. And when you look at all that is happening, it is easy to understand why.


Deshane Lopez

Deshane Lopez, Clinical Psychologist, Counselling & Psychological Services

“Even for people who feel like they are managing with the pandemic early on. I heard some people tell me well “My goodness this is a lot. More than I expected. “so if you were doing well and now they are talking about tropical storm or hurricane, and you felt out of control that is pretty much normal.  What I have noticed is that – we’re accumulating stressors. We are accumulating traumas. These are all natural events, but they’re all trauma events as well. So what I have noticed is that persons who have experienced trauma early on. Now it’s going to impact them even more. So I think it’s going to impact them even more. So that is something that we have to be mindful of. You maybe be having flashback memories. You may start having these deep feelings of sadness and irritability and not really be sure why. There may be changes in terms of feelings of I’m being punished for something pr feeling like this is just so unbreakable at time. So it’s very important that people start to notice changes.  When a person experiences cumulative trauma, a different type of stressors and it is ongoing what starts to happen is there’s an increase in cortisol, and that impacts your heart, that impacts your sugar, that impact hypertension, cardiovascular diseases. It affects your memory. In the health aspect, it really affects you health-wise. In terms of work, employers may notice that they have high levels of absenteeism at work. People may go to alcohol as a means of coping. People start to engage in sexual activities and not practice safe sex as a result. So there are so many ways that it impacts everyday people may start not doing things that you really enjoy.”


If you have noticed changes in your typical behaviour or moods, you must deal with your accumulating stress. Some people have outlets for stress relief that typically work for them. Still, if you are struggling, it may be helpful to reach out to mental health professional for some guidance.


Deshane Lopez

“Therapists are silent first responders as well when it comes to mental health. We all need someone to speak to. It’s always good to have a professional that you can go to. One when you go to a counsellor, the service is professional. Family members and friends while they have good intentions. Sometimes the block us from sharing what we are really feeling, and we don’t want to always burden them. A lot of people say that “I don’t want to burden my family members with what I am going through.  Therapist and counsellors teach you about interventions. You are the person who seemed help. You are the expert in your life. You know yourself better than anyone else, so when you share your concerns and your challenges with a professional. What we are doing explaining to them and what they do is process what you are experiencing but also help you to find your own solution. So therapist and counsellors don’t give you advice on how to live your life. They teach you interventions of how you want to deal with your life. So it’s all about you. So, it’s more of a problem-solving strategy. It is a way for you to have that safe space to cry, to laugh, to say the things it’s hard for us to say out loud and have that safe space to say it.”


Reaching out for help is even easier now as even counselling services can now be accessed online.


Deshane Lopez

“For us, at counselling and psychological services, we offer both online and in person. For us and online services, it’s pretty much the same process. Once you have the internet, you have a quiet place that you can create your own safe space virtually. You can do therapy from pretty much anywhere. You can do it in your car if you are the only one in your car. If your house is crowded, you can go outside in your yard. You can even go into your bathroom.”


It’s important to reach out if you recognize that you are not coping well with all the uncontrollable changes around you. Lopez also urges you to pay attention to loved ones as well.


Deshane Lopez

“So many things when you have unresolved trauma when you have accumulated stress, it becomes heavy. And some people oftentimes may become hopeless. We are also in the month of suicide awareness, and so we at counselling and psychological services are also trying to educate people about suicides because again stress, because of the pandemic, because of all that is happening around the world, sometimes people do consider suicide, you know.”


If you or someone you know are interested in seeking some help to learn how to cope through these challenging times, you can reach out to Lopez at Counselling and Psychological Services on Facebook. The Ministry of Health does offer free mental health services at public health clinics across the country. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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