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The News and your Mental Health: January 15, 2019

From websites to social media, and of course television—no matter where you go, the news is always accessible. “It’s not that these events didn’t happen before, but now they are much more publicized, and there’s more access to them, so it’s 24 hours a day,” said Dr. Rose Ann Illes, a clinical psychologist with Lee Health.

Constant access can be harmful to your mental health. “Our senses are powerful, so when we are listening to things, when we see things, and we’re taking in those messages, it really does end up impacting how we end up reacting to that next event,” she said.

The inability to escape negative, even devastating reports can become overwhelming. “The research is starting to look at a secondary trauma,” said Dr. Illes.

Doctors say that secondary trauma is causing people to become more vigilant—but also more afraid, stressed, and worried. “You can’t stop your life, none of us can. Usually, with folks we talk about just ways to manage stress reactions in general,” said Dr. Illes.

To help manage your stress, health experts recommend limiting your daily amount of negative information. “It’s when we sit in it, again no matter which format we’re getting it from, that’s when it will sit in us,” she said.

Limiting the negative reports, being aware of how you’re responding to the reports, and making time for positive news is important to your mental health.

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