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Mental health exercises to help cope through a time of uncertainty

A Hampton Roads support group is seeing more people seeking to improve their mental health.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Information about police shootings, mass shootings, and the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many people and their mental health. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Coastal Virginia staff and volunteers have seen an increase in the number of people seeking support. 

Susannah Uroskie volunteers with the National Alliance on Mental illness Coastal Virginia. Uroskie is in charge of conducting youth programs for the group.

“We are reaching to more people but unfortunately it does mean more people are in need, so we’re seeing a lot... a lot of people are frustrated with what’s going on," said Uroskie.

Uroskie explained breathing exercises are a way to bring stress levels down.

“Breathing in four seconds through your nose, holding it for four seconds, and then breathing out through your mouth," said Uroskie. 

Uroskie said most of her support group classes are through Zoom now. People are learning these grounding exercises virtually and implementing them in their daily lives.

“5,4,3,2,1 grounding technique. Five things you see, you would say them out loud. Four things you feel. Three things you hear, two things you smell. One thing you taste," said Uroskie. 

Uroskie explained a way parents can help their children understand the current issues pressing our society.

“Allow children to feel what they are feeling, acknowledging it but then letting them know, calmly; let’s say they’re stressed, they don’t feel safe but letting them know that you’re not alone. You are safe," explained Uroski. 

Mental health organizations like NAMI offer free classes and resources to promote the use of reducing anxiety.