Watching war unfold can take a toll on your mental health
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Seeing the images and video of destruction in Ukraine, cities being bombed, civilians being attacked, pregnant women being carried out of broken buildings can take a mental toll.
The thought of war, even if it’s in a distant country, can lead to fear and anxiety. It’s so hard because people can’t control what happens overseas.
We’re seeing this invasion unfold on TV and all over social media with very graphic images. Seeing people in grief can be heartbreaking.
Mental health experts said the best way to help people feeling vulnerable, angry, or anxious about the conflict is to acknowledge their feelings and support them in finding ways to cope.
“We don’t like feeling angry,” Dr. Stephen Taylor, chief medical officer at UofL Health Peace Hospital said. “We want someone to go do something about it. It’s kind of like the experience you can have like being on the playground. We don’t like a bully. We want our tough kid to beat him up, we want to feel better and not nervous it’s a way of diffusing the feeling of holding onto ourselves. We are experiencing that as well too.”
Taylor said it’s important to do things to manage your stress. Set boundaries for yourself and get help if you need it. Don’t fall into ‘doom scrolling’ when you are feeling anxious and take some time and go outside.
Doctors said they are seeing more people getting mental health care, which is a good thing.
The constant stream of news can be upsetting and harmful to our mental well-being of vulnerable individuals, such as people who have lived through their own traumatic events and for children.
“It’s important not to ignore the concerns of kids, but meet them where they are,” Taylor said. “Ask them what they know what are they thinking about. What are they afraid of? What do they worry about?
“Kids have their own ideas about the world they might not be the same as you and I have,” Taylor added. “If I talk to a kid about what is happening in the world right now just about what I think I might be completely left field with that kid and they might be like what are you talking about and it would be unfair. It’s important to meet kids where they are.”
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