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New Year, old problems: Mental health experts say don't lose hope

Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 21:29:00-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As the new year continues, the problems of 2020 - the pandemic, elections and protests - seem to follow. But mental health experts say it’s still early and there’s still hope.

NewsChannel 5 talked to a mental health expert who is encouraging people not to give up.

"Traditionally mental health, right after the holidays is our busiest time; traditionally we have people say I didn’t handle the holidays very well or a saw mom and dad for the first time in six months and they’re not doing well," said Tom Starling, CEO of Mental Health of America of the Midsouth.

He says when the holidays are over people lose hope, making it hard to trust the future.

"Now there’s nothing, there’s nothing to look forward to. I would really encourage people make those New Year’s resolutions. look for puppies, puzzles, connectedness. Connectedness is such a great mental health protective factor."

Many people were ready to enter the new year putting COVID-19, protests and the election in the past. Starling says don’t let these things you can’t control, control you.

"Sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude; so we can’t help what’s going on in the pandemic and in D.C. and sometimes downtown at the Square, but we can control how we deal with it," Starling said.

He says that starts with unplugging the devices and limiting time on social media. Starling says despite how 2021 looks now he says hold on.

"These are times that we really need to connect with our faith communities, our support groups in our families."

Starling says don't be afraid to reach out for help. He also advises those suffering to take an online mental health screening at the Mental Health of America's website.