BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local doctors say the number of people suffering from anxiety and mental health issues remains high amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Cynthia Fields of MedStar Health says there has been an increase in chronic anxiety, stress, and fear.

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“Fear of getting sick. Fear of what would happen to a vulnerable loved one. Fear about job loss,” Dr. Fields said. “Before the pandemic, we were already struggling with a mental health crisis.”

The pandemic is causing an onset of symptoms for some and exacerbating existing illness for others, according to Dr. Fields, who recommends people try to embrace the uncertainty.

“That may sound silly, but making a gratitude list and every day, taking time to account for what’s good and what’s positive,” Dr. Fields said.

Fields said some other tips for coping through the stress include: maintaining physical health; keeping a routine; reducing screen time; and limiting news intake to credible sources.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

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“The progress in dealing with mental health issues has come so far that the results are amazing if you get it a chance,” patient William Nock said Monday. “It’s just such an easy fix, especially during this terrible time of isolation and uncertainty.”

Nock urged those who may be experiencing symptoms of depression during pandemic-brought isolation to take advantage of available resources. Maryland’s 211 hotline connects residents with such resources.

Nock said he has taken that approach of recognizing things for which he is grateful and it has helped.

“Most of us don’t know how to handle (the pandemic). It’s fearful. We don’t know if it’s going to end. We thought it was going to get better and now we’re not so sure,” Nock said. “I’ve gone back and picked up some books off the shelf that I remember reading when I was 20-25 years old and I’m reading them again.”

Below is a list of some of the available mental health resources:

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler