The spread of the coronavirus throughout the world has many people feeling anxious, which is normal in this time of uncertainty, explains Dr. Robert Trestman, head of psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

“It is a normal, healthy response to be anxious when confronted with a pandemic such as COVID-19. Our challenge is to remember that there is a lot under our control to reduce risks for ourselves, our families, and our communities,” said Dr. Trestman.

Dr. Trestman offers the following helpful tips to ease anxiety during this time.

·       Discuss how you are feeling with friends and family.

·       Educate yourself about the virus and steps to take to protect yourself.

·       Take breaks from watching the news about the pandemic.

·       Take preventive efforts to use good hygiene: wash your hands - a lot!

·       Follow recommendations from health professionals.

·       Use social media to stay in touch with friends and family.

·       Structure your day to include both productive activities and some things that you simply enjoy.

·       For those who seek regular mental health care, use telemedicine to continue care.

About Trestman

Robert Trestman is professor and chair of the Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Trestman has studied the neurobiology and treatment of people with severe mood and personality disorders and conducts translational research on mental health. He has authored over 180 peer reviewed articles and other publications and is the senior editor of the first textbook in the field of correctional psychiatry, the Oxford Textbook of Correctional Psychiatry. Dr. Trestman is the co-developer of START NOW, a skills-based psychotherapy in use in five countries. He has given over 150 regional, national, and international invited presentations. More here.

Interview

To secure an interview with Trestman, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 703-399-9494.