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How depression has changed throughout the pandemic | Health Beat with Brea Love

Research shows depression has gone up and down amid the pandemic. Our ABC10 health expert explains why and how to fight it.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Research shows pandemic depression went down nearly 30% at the beginning of 2021, but as it nears the end of the year it seems to be going back up. 

ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Tom Hopkins said it might be due to the ever-changing policies on pandemic precautions. 

At the beginning of the year, there was a sense of normalcy. Places were re-opening, gathering guidelines were more relaxed and some counties even did away with mask mandates, but then stricter guidelines returned when the delta variant appeared. 

"We see the depression, anxiety go up, especially those people who already have depression and anxiety. Then it kind of comes down when things appear to be better — when the news is better — such as decreased hospitalizations, fewer deaths, a decrease of positivity [rates] of delta virus in the community," Hopkins said. "There's a correlation and a cyclical pattern that's happened that goes with any of these surges that we have in the pandemic.

How to fight pandemic depression:

  • Stay informed, but don't obsess
  • Focus on the positive
  • Talk to your doctor
  • Practice mindfulness

Hopkins said managing uncertainty can be done by staying on top of how you feel. It's important to stay informed in whatever way you choose, but don't overdo it. If you need a break, take one. If you can't cope, talk to your doctor. Hopkins also suggests practicing mindfulness. 

RELATED: Mind Matters: How mindfulness helps relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety brought on by pandemic stress

"Mindfulness really describes being aware that there are things in your environment that are going on that impact your life. But it's really focusing on controlling the things that you can control. If you don't have direct control of it, then you just let it go, turn it off" Hopkins said. "So that way, you're always in control by controlling the things that you can impact yourself."

Hopkins said if there were ever a time in history to practice being mindful, it's now.

For more mental health resources, click HERE.

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