Mental health experts offer tips on coping with recent tragedies

Mental health experts offer tips on coping with recent tragedies
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 7:56 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - We’ve now been dealing with a global pandemic for more than a year, and now recent mass shootings, officer involved shootings, protests, and high profile trials have some feeling overwhelmed. If that describes you, mental health professionals say you are not alone.

Community Liaison Keith Hamm with Integrated Family Services in Greenville says the constant flow of news and noise from social media can be a lot to deal with.

“Every day we become disconcerted by the images that are thrown at us and it becomes very difficult to deal with,” explained Hamm.

That’s why Hamm says it’s important for us to take breaks from both the news and social media. “We find ourselves beginning to drop, to go down negatively and all of the sudden we’re overwhelmed with negative thoughts, it can affect our sleep, our eating habits, our irritability.”

Hamm explained that taking those breaks when information or events begin to take over our lives can actually give our brains time to process all of the information we consume.

“We have to give ourselves breaks so that we can process what’s happened or what is happening, we can process it and let our brains have an opportunity to try to adjust to what we’ve heard,” said Hamm.

If the idea of taking a break from it all has you feeling guilty, don’t. Hamm explained that “We cannot stay constantly in negative rhetoric and it doesn’t mean the issues are not important but what it means, again let ourselves have a different perspective, take a break from being so ramped up and engaged.”

Hamm also says it’s important to take time out of your day to reflect on the positive things happening in the world. Experts also recommend utilizing any emotions you may be feeling and putting them to work towards something good.

“Anger is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s how we channel that anger and I want to point out people like Martin Luther King, he was angry about social injustice and racial injustice and he did more than anyone we can think of,” said Hamm.

If the emotions, stress, or anxiety ever become too much to handle on your own, there are also many professional resources out there, you can find more information on some of them at

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