New mask rules and rising COVID cases causing mental health concerns

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s hard to keep up with all of the changing guidelines during this pandemic. Just when we thought things were getting better, another mask requirement is put in place.

“It’s been a really, really long haul,” said Dr. Craig Lammers, Clinical Psychologist with MultiCare Rockwood.

A long haul that’s taken a toll on so many of us.

“I think most people would say they had to give up quite a bit during this time. Social contact, giving up jobs, employment,” said Lammers.

Lammers said his clinic alone saw a 75% to 100% spike in behavioral health referrals during the pandemic. It’s something he fears may continue with mask requirements and cases spiking once again.

“I think for the population in general there’s got to be a strong sense of discouragement in hearing this,” Lammers said.

Although it may be disappointing for some, Dr. Lammers hopes people struggling can try looking at things from a different point of view.

“Anxiety, fear, worry typically is coming from our perspective. The way we are looking at things, the things we are saying to ourselves,” said Lammers.

This includes the things we say to our kids, especially as they begin masking up once again inside of the classroom. Thankfully, Dr. Lammers thinks most children will adjust in no time.

“I do feel that kids, in general, are pretty adaptable when it comes to things like that,” he said.

While change isn’t always easy, Dr. Lammers said it’s important to listen to the experts.

“I think we have to trust the people that know more about this than we do,” he said.

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