LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The fear. The anxiety. The stress.
At times during this pandemic it’s been overwhelming to the point it’s taking a toll on our mental health.
That’s led to unhealthy coping habits, and we are paying a price for it.
However, as a psychotherapist and the CEO of CrossRoads explains there are better ways and better days ahead.
"When they closed the gyms closed the churches and synagogues a lot of the healthy coping mechanisms Las Vegans use to stay healthy were taken away from us and unfortunately the unhealthy coping mechanisms ended up filling in," Dave Marlon said.
Dave Marlon is calling it the epidemic within the pandemic.
"Have you ever seen a time like this we are collectively so many people are issues are dealing with mental health issues. Whether it's anxiety, depression, or substance-abuse," 13 Action News Anchor Todd Quinones asked.
"No. Never seen anything like it. I do know in 2020 we've had more overdoses in the country In the history of the country," Marlon responded.
Marlon is the CEO of CrossRoads. It is the largest addiction and rehab center in Nevada....
He urges people to practice mindfulness.
Focusing on the here and now not the past or the future to help ease anxiety and stress and concentrate on your breathing to lower the intensity.
"Something I do as an older guy I just do some stretching in the morning instead of worrying about my mortgage payment while I'm stretching, I said you know what I'm gonna be right here right now it's going to feel my back while I'm struggling to touch my toes and then I'm enjoying the experience of being in the right now," he said.
"For people who hear that and say it makes sense, but how do I do that I can't stop these thoughts that are racing through my mind because I'm concerned about my mortgage or my rent or with the health of a loved one," Quinones asked.
"There's a technique used, a meditation which is sometimes those thoughts to come in and it's OK Dave acknowledge them and say oh well I'm thinking about this person but right now I wanna focus on stretching recognize that thought came in I'm gonna announce it acknowledge it I'm gonna let it go and I'm going to go back to doing this stretch," Marlon said.
Marlon adds those meditation apps we often see advertised can also help.
"I'm gonna tell you personally I am a fan of using some of those guided meditation apps I have them on my phone as well as my laptop." Marlon said.
Above all Marlon recommends finding someone to talk to.
"Most people aren't wondering if they are an alcoholic. If you're wondering if you're an alcoholic or if you're wondering if you have mental health symptoms call and get an assessment! Use your insurance and talk to a mental health professional. Ask to do a one hour assessment to rule out a mental health disorder to rule out substance abuse," he said.
"How do you have that initial conversation when there's so much fear or anxiety and shame that is still wrapped around this idea of mental awareness and mental health and the thought of being a weak person," asked Quinones.
"It's not weak at all if I got cancer you would not think of me as weak. If I develop some heart disease or hypertension you wouldn't look at me as weak," Marlon concluded.
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW BELOW