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Mental Health In The Age Of Zoom 

Virtual psychological consultations help people cope with anxiety, loneliness and increased family life. 

Changes to daily life during coronavirus lockdowns, the loss of income, fear of health problems and regular contact with family members consolidated 2020, while the world protected itself from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We never imagined spending so much time living together as a family, being at home 24 hours a day,” said Pablo Mora Ramírez, a 45-year-old employee of a customs company in Veracruz, Mexico. “The first weeks there was no problem, but later it began to be stressful for some and a source of anxiety for others.”

As children and young people began taking online classes and adults started working from home, many people used the same channels to connect with behavioral and mental health professionals. As a consequence, psychologists saw an uptick in their services.

Isolation, loss of income, regular contact with family members and fear exacerbated mental health problems during the pandemic. (Ethan Sykes/Unsplash)

During the health crisis, psychological consultations are personal talks over the Internet, through programs or applications such as Zoom, Google Meet or Skype.

“In my case, therapies and consultations rebounded 200% compared to the previous year,” said Elizabeth Aguirre Castro, a 39-year-old psychologist who graduated from Universidad Cristóbal Colon in the city of Veracruz. “From the third month of the lockdown, people started seeking out consultations, as the situation was causing an imbalance in the health of all family members.”

Therapies address such imbalance.

“Currently, I give family therapies so that everyone can cope with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Aguirre Castro.

While in isolation, patients have developed anxiety, sadness, depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

Online consultations are the answer for therapists and patients. The American Psychological Association reported that 96 percent of psychologists are treating patients remotely during the pandemic. (J. Kelly Brito/Unsplash)

“Internet therapy has worked very well,” said Aguirre Castro. “People feel comfortable consulting remotely, talking about the problems they are going through. It helps them to vent and to work on their emotions, thoughts and behavior.”

Aguirre Castro said that for online psychological care to work, people first and foremost need to accept that they have a problem that can be solved with the right help. A therapist can provide the right tools to overcome future situations as well.

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Carlin Becker)

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