PINELALS COUNTY, Fla. -- Mental health professionals are seeing an uptick in new patients and existing ones are experiencing an increased level of stress and anxiety amid coronavirus concerns.

Seventy-two-year-old Leslie Ford of Pinellas County regularly sees her psychologist Dr. Melissa Bailey of Bailey Psychology Group in Safety Harbor.

"We're in our 70s and it's hard enough," Ford said. "And you throw a 10-year old and a disabled 32-year-old in it and we're....sometimes we struggle."

Add concerns over coronavirus and Ford has been adding sessions.

"We have to think about everything we're going to do before we do it," Ford explained. "Short walks around the neighborhood is about all we do, my husband does most of the grocery shopping because he just feels safer if he goes instead of me."

Doctor Bailey said Ford's feelings are echoed in a lot of current patients.

The doctor also says a lot of new patients have recently been reaching out for help and scheduling sessions both socially-distanced in-person and virtually.

"They're having a lot of anxiety in general over: the virus, the loss of income, what's gonna happen next, and what's the new normal gonna look like?" Dr. Bailey said. "How is it that I can manage previous depression and anxiety I had by doing activities of daily living that I can't do anymore?" 

The doctor says these are some of the most common concerns.

Doctor Bailey says they are seeing a lot more situational anxiety and helping people deal with coping skills.

Dr. Bailey recommends:

  • Keeping a schedule
  • Exercising 
  • Reaching out to friends and family, especially the elderly
  • Coming together as a community

Ford says it's working for her.

Dr. Bailey also wants to remind everyone that virtual sessions are available.