MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Daniel Bober, D.O. is the Chief of Psychiatry for Memorial Regional Hospital. He’s a renowned expert on mental illness. Dr. Bober shared with us the impact of the pandemic on mental health, what he is experiencing day to day, and what we all need to know.
WHAT IS IT LIKE RIGHT NOW?
“I’ve definitely seen an uptick in depression and anxiety, insomnia. If you look at the national statistics, there’s been an increase in suicides and overdoses. If you look at the recovery community, part of the recovery is being close to your support system and so by its very nature you can’t be [in it], that puts you at a higher risk for overdose. That’s what we are seeing in South Florida.”
IMPACT ON HOW HE TREATS PATIENTS
“Because the nature of mental health is your trying to connect with a patient obviously COVID puts a damper on that, you have to sit far away, you have to wear a mask, you have to wear a shield.”
DO YOU FEEL SAFE?
“I think I feel safe but there’s always this low-level anxiety in the background that you’re going to walk up to the wrong person, you’re going to touch your face, or move your mask around. It’s on your mind. There’s not a time in the hospital when it’s not on your mind.
Some days it’s very stressful for me. Sometimes I have to deal with my own stress, but I just try to help everyone around me and move forward and keep going.
A lot of the patients I see are via telehealth. You don’t get the same kind of connection through telehealth that you would in person. For example, it’s very difficult to convey mood or tone, all the nonverbal things that go along when people are face to face get lost over a digital connection, but right now it’s the only option we have to do it safely.”
WHAT DOES EVERYONE NEED TO KNOW?
“My advice is to teach people to engage in self-care, exercise, make sure that they are eating right, to try to refrain from using alcohol and tobacco, and drugs. And if you need help, reach out, mobilize a support system.”
IS THERE A SILVER LINING?
“I think this is really going to change the world, the way we see things, and maybe it will give us an appreciation for how we live our lives and really focus on the things that are important.”