Loneliness, depression, anxiety intensify during holiday season

Thanksgiving will be much different for many families this year.

That has some medical professionals worried about the toll it might have on your mental health.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Charlie Harris said loneliness and depression are typical for people around this time of year. However, it's intensified now because of several challenges brought on during this pandemic.

"Now, what many people are facing are food insecurity, loss of income related to their business or jobs as well as the loss of loved ones to COVID," Dr. Harris explained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s holiday recommendations could also worsen mental health struggles.

A lot of people have taken to social media lately sharing that they feel depressed and alone during this holiday season.

"We want to be with our primary social network, our families. We want to be with them and share with them and not just through zoom," Harris, who is also a Psychology Professor at Clayton State University, explained.

She went on to say signs of concern are "not feeling like doing anything, not feeling like engaging in things that you might have previously enjoyed, a lack of motivation, not being able to sleep."

FOX 5 talked with Joi Crump who suffers from depression.

She's planning to spend time with family but says the gathering will be socially distant.

"Just being around people that you love, it kind of reminds you, if you do struggle with mental illness that you are not alone," Crump said during a Zoom call.

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Even in those small gatherings, Dr. Harris said some people may suffer from anxiety.

"Even for those who choose to go home and physical distance and get tested, there's a lot of anxiety about whether or not someone may be asymptomatic and whether they are going to transmit the virus to a loved one," Harris detailed.

While folks are encouraged to avoid their usual celebrations, Dr. Harris said people can still have a safe holiday with family and friends.

"Reach out and ask for help and ask for support. I think there are creative ways that you can still connect with others during this time. One suggestion would be to do curbside conversations."

She said people can also use Zoom or make phone calls.

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