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As El Pasoans continue to ride the waves of a volatile year in the borderland, medical providers want to make sure everyone is paying attention to their mental health and learning the best ways to cope with stress. 

Dr. Goshawn Chawla, a psychiatrist with the Hospitals of Providence, answered a few questions via email about mental health in El Paso. Here’s what he said about resources and best practices for those struggling with mental health issues. 

Q: Is there an increase in El Pasoans seeking mental health care and services?

There has been a significant rise in mental health issues due to the pandemic. However, some people in our community may need mental health services right now but are hesitant to come receive help right now due to the following:

• The stigma of mental health

• Issues coping with the pandemic

• The pandemic being a barrier at this moment in time

• Psychosocial stressors 

Q: What are some best practices for dealing with the stress of what’s happening with COVID-19 and trying to live in a new normal?

We are and will be living in the new normal, which can be detrimental to human stress. I would advise using positive coping mechanisms such as talking and spending time with family and friends while still practicing social distancing, overall distracting the mind from negative thoughts and also reaching out to a mental health provider that might be able to guide you through the stress. 

 Q: What resources are available in the region for mental health care? 

There are several resources available in the community of El Paso. It all depends on the type of mental health needs. If a person requires acute psychiatric needs, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization might be warranted. If a person requires mild to moderate psychiatric service, outpatient psychiatric service might be ideal. 

For example, El Paso Behavioral Health specializes in behavioral health treatment and offers no-cost assessments 24/7. Through assessments and evaluations they can decipher the type of mental health services needed for a particular person.

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