Nearly two million Texans have filed for unemployment benefits in the last two months, according to information released by the Texas Workforce Commission.
That record rate of people receiving pink slips could prove to be disastrous for the mental health of anyone who is feeling increased financial stress, anxiety, and signs of depression.
“We are seeing spikes in anxiety. People are afraid. They’re worried about going back out into the world. They are worried about things shutting down. It’s just worry, worry,” said Leigh Richardson, the founder and clinical director of the Brain Performance Center in Dallas.
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Richardson said she is concerned that people are at high risk of shutting down during the shutdown; that when one suffers the trauma of losing a job, for example, their frontal lobe shuts down, and they lose their ability think logically and instead rely on emotions to guide them.
“We are in for a long-term mental health crisis,” said Vaile Wright, director of clinical research and quality for the American Psychological Association, in an NBC News report about the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wright went so far as to say that the current pandemic has “a much broader impact across the country” than other traumatic events in the past, such as the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Richardson, a licensed professional counselor, advised anyone struggling with their mental health or outlook during the pandemic to focus on any potential positives in their lives as much as possible.
“I know plenty of days where it’s all been negative,” Richardson said. “Research shows you have three times more positive events than you do negative events, but you’ve got to look for them. What you pay attention to is a choice.”