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‘Remember your strength and resilience’: Doctor says earthquake, COVID-19 pandemic heightening anxiety, depression

Posted at 12:17 PM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 00:29:21-04

As aftershocks from Wednesdays 5.7 magnitude earthquake continue, some people in Utah are on edge. The earthquake added to an already stressful time for people, Dr. Joshua Gibney, M.D., a physician practicing psychiatry and pediatrics in Salt Lake City said.

“We already saw an increase in anxiety of course with Covid-19, people were kind of in that fight or flight stage, and then on top of that you have an earthquake and of course all those effects of anxiety and depression are just magnified further and I think we are seeing that in the healthcare setting,” he said.

Changes and new guidelines because of the Covid-19 pandemic has many patients unable to see providers in person for non-essential reasons. This means, Dr. Gibney said, more patients and providers are meeting virtually.

“We’re in an unfortunate scenario where we can’t see a lot of our patients due to risk of Covid-19. So, we are utilizing a lot of telemedicine which has its pros and cons but certainly isn’t as effective as seeing them in person,” he said.

People are being asked to stay home, and practice social distancing that doesn’t mean people should isolate themselves from friends and family, Dr. Gibney said. It’s important to find ways to connect with people during this time, whether that be through social media or phone calls.

“Focusing a lot on meditation, focusing on the present because if we look to the past, we often end up depressed, if we look to the future, we often end up anxious,” he said.

People should remember one thing each day that they are grateful for, Dr. Gibney said.

“Also reminding ourselves that we have strength and resilience in ourselves, in our families, in our communities,” he said.

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