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Election, COVID-19 taking its toll on mental health

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Tallahassee residents were taking a break from election day stress Thursday, enjoying a day of sunshine at Cascades Park.

For many people, the delayed election results are only adding to what has already been a highly intense and emotional election.

Mental health experts say 2020 is a year of uncertainty; between the elections and nearly a year of dealing with the pandemic, these challenges have started to take a toll on many people’s mental health.

Dr. Jay Reeve, President and CEO of the Apalachee Center, says they typically see a drop in patients during the summer and at the beginning of November. This year, though, that’s not the case.

“I’ve been lacking a little bit of sleep, watching all of the results and trying to keep up with everything,” said Douglas Thornton.

Thorton, like many others, says this election, and the year, has been stressful.

“It’s a little bit of anxiety for me personally, but I want to make sure it’s done right and I have faith in the democratic process, and the voting system. Just let it play out and count all the votes,” Thornton said. “The combination of COVID and everything, it is a little bit more stressful for me but I’m the type of guy that just rolls with the punches.”

The common thread of many of the challenges throughout 2020 is uncertainty.

“Now you’ve got a lot of folks out of work, you’ve got a lot of folks worried about their health, you’ve got folks worried bout the economy, you’ve got folks worried about politics. So it’s a little bit of a perfect storm,” said Reeve. “Everything is getting kind of dialed up. And those are actually exactly the times when folks who know they are dealing with underlying mental health issues need to be particularly conscious of what they’re doing, what they’re watching.”

Dr. Reeve added that it’s important to remember to take a step back from devices and social media for a while. It’s also important, he says, to remember that everyone has relationships with people who have differing political opinions, and those relationships are stronger than political divides.

There are several resources across the Big Bend to help anyone in need of mental health services, like The Apalachee Center and 2-1-1 Big Bend.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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