by Jessica McIlrath, DO, psychiatrist, Winona Health


Everyday life can be filled with stress and uncertainty, and in today’s world that has only increased.

The COVID outbreak and civil unrest have left many feeling worried, down, socially isolated. The current political tensions in this country have led to more conflict, even within families, leaving many to question relationships that had once felt secure and supportive, or to question their own values.

Navigating all of this can be confusing and scary, especially if you feel alone. Please know you are not alone, and support is available.

Counseling can be incredibly helpful- more than just a listening ear, counselors and psychotherapists are trained in guiding clients through their own thought processes to work on goals and self-improvement, and develop coping skills. Your insurance carrier or your primary medical provider can help refer you to a psychotherapist or mental health counselor.

If you find yourself so anxious or down that sleep is disrupted, appetite changes, life holds no enjoyment, you feel panicked or can’t stop thinking about your worries, these are signs your condition may be progressing into a generalized anxiety or major depressive disorder. Generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder are recognized medical illnesses, just like diabetes or asthma, and effective treatments are available. You may want to consider speaking with your primary care provider or a psychiatrist to see if medication may be appropriate.

If you or someone you love is having hopeless or suicidal thoughts, immediate safety is most important. Your local hospital emergency department is always available and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is another good resource.

During these difficult times and always, remember- you are not alone, you matter, and help is available.

If you or someone you care about are in need of a psychiatric care provider, appointments are available at Winona Health: 507-454-2606.