Advocacy group uses technology to help those with anxiety and depression during pandemic

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As the coronavirus spreads, so does stress and fear.

Peer support groups serve as a place of comfort and connection for people with mental health conditions.

But with a stay-at-home order across Sacramento, the National Alliance on Mental Illness can’t host its weekly meetings in-person.

So NAMI Executive Director David Bain is turning to the Internet, hosting meetings through video chats on Zoom.

“It’s kind of interesting, a month or two ago people were saying ‘we have too much technology.’ And now technology is what’s helping us maintain connections with one another,“ explained Bain.

He told FOX40 Sunday that these groups are more important now than ever as physical isolation takes a mental toll.

“We as human beings just need that sort of interaction,“ said Bain.

Bain worries more people will experience anxiety and depression in the coming weeks as the coronavirus upends life as we know it.

He recommends trying to keep a routine, to maintain some certainty in such an uncertain time. 

“If you’re used to going into work at 8:00 in the morning and you get up at 6:00, I would still get up at 6:00 and have yourself at your work desk if you’re working at home now,“ said Bain.

Physical health can also play a large role in your mental state.

Bain said eating healthy, sleeping well and going outside to exercise in the fresh air can all help, along with maintaining your relationships.

“If you have a phone and have access to email or social media. Get out on that and use that. And If you find that it’s too much for you then pull back. But people need to be getting out and have that interaction,” said Bain.

Bain stresses that this is a difficult time for everyone so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. 

It’s why the nonprofit’s helpline to connect you to mental health resources is still up and running. 

That number is 916-364-1642.

You can learn more at https://namisacramento.org/

If you need additional help, please visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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