Focusing on mental, physical health during pandemic, civil unrest

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Now more than ever, local medical experts are sharing the importance of mental health.

Many believe while there’s an importance to stay informed, sometimes, you need to distance yourself from absorbing too much information.

Dr. Ted Bender, President of UnityPoint Health–UnityPlace, says mental and physical health are just as important now as ever.

He adds a stress reaction is normal, but the longevity of stress people have been under due to the pandemic, and now civil unrest, is cause for concern.

But Dr. Bender says there are ways right now you can improve your mental health.

“Really focus on what do you have control over and what do you not have control over. Once you figure those things out, you can do something about things you do have control over. Next, really kind of do what helps encourage you to have a sense of safety,” Dr. Bender said.

Dr. Bender says this could be speaking to a loved one, seeing a therapist, or even starting a journal.

“The three magical bullets that I’ve always told my patients and practice, is exercise, eat healthy, and sleep. If you’re getting no exercise, get some. Whatever that means. Take a walk, do something,” Dr. Bender said.

Dr. Bender says there is treatment for insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy, that is available right now.

You can find UnityPoint mental health resources here.

Dr. Bender says there is hope.

“We will get through this as a country, as a nation, as the world joining together as people. We will get through this, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but in the meantime we need to make changes,” Dr. Bender said. “We live in a different world today than we did a few months ago. There’s never been a stronger time to focus on your mental health and your physical health. Not just because of all the stress we’re all in due to the current pandemic and all the social issues we’re facing right now, but the Coronavirus has been shown to be much more deadly to people with pre-existing conditions, people who are diabetic, and people who are overweight. This is the time to defend against that, we need to be as healthy as we possibly can.”

Dr. Bender says if you put your focus on eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping regularly, you will feel better, be more mentally strong, and be able to get through this much better.

You can call 888-311-0321 if you need help with mental health or substance abuse. You can call the number 24/7.

The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.

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