Stressed? Psychologist, Team Offer Coping Tools

Even before COVID-19 changed the world, licensed clinical psychologist Corinna Press, PsyD, was focused on people struggling with depression, anxiety and other disorders.

The global pandemic has only made her more determined to share her message: “You are not alone. There is hope, and it lives right here in Solano County.”

ABOVE: Psychologist Corinna Press, PsyD, and Mental Health Tech Toni Perez were disappointed to have to reschedule two community presentations of “ANGST,” originally planned for May 2020. New dates have not yet been announced.
If anything, the pandemic sparked depression and anxiety on a much larger scale.

“Some people have lost jobs, and many more are worried it will happen to them,” she said. “They aren’t just worried about their financial future, they’re worried about how they’ll pay their rent or put food on the table.”

Shelter-at-home orders imposed mind-numbing isolation for those living alone. And for those living with large families, it created a very different set of frustrations. Vacations were cancelled, weddings, graduations and even funerals were postponed or took on a whole new look. Social gatherings went online. Everything changed.

And change is hard.

So Dr. Press created a series of videos, “Tips for Coping with COVID Anxiety,” which can be found on NorthBay.org, under Physician Tips at NorthBay.org/coronavirus.

“I’ve read somewhere that in this time of COVID-19, there are no more strangers,” she said. “We are all impacted. And … we’re just learning right now how to do this. While many of us have navigated difficulties in our lifetime, a global public health crisis is not something we’ve learned how to respond to… Although we don’t have control of the virus, we do have control over how we respond to the impact the virus has on our lives.”

In the videos, she touches on knowing your anxiety; staying informed; focusing on things you can control; taking care of your whole self; and helping others.

“You are not alone. There is hope, and it lives right here in Solano County.”
Corinna Press, PsyD

COVID-19 also changed Dr. Press’ work world, but she quickly adapted, setting up video visits with her patients to help them navigate their new normal.

She also had to cancel plans she had for a pair of community events last May — Mental Health Awareness Month.

NorthBay Healthcare had partnered with Foster Kinship Care Education Program–Solano College, to present two special screenings of “ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.” The film, by Indie Flix, was created to spark a global conversation on the subject, according to producers Scilla Andreen and Karin Gornick. Through candid interviews, the film shares stories of many children and teenagers who discuss their anxiety and its impacts on their lives and relationships, as well as how they’ve found solutions and hope.

Dr. Press is hoping that the event can be rescheduled in 2021, and hopes to partner with other mental health agencies in the county.

“It was an important message before COVID-19, and it’s more important now than ever that we engage our community in a healthy dialogue about mental health,” she said. “Depression and anxiety are real and common and treatable. We need to break the stigma and help folks understand that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there are treatments proven to work. First, we open the dialogue, then we open the doors to help folks start their journey toward recovery.”

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