Helpline Center fielding calls about ‘re-entry anxiety’

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the main ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But it doesn’t inoculate people from certain emotional stresses that can come during this stage of the pandemic.

The Helpline Center in Sioux Falls is seeing a growing number of calls related to what’s being called “re-entry anxiety,” where people are having a difficult time with re-adjusting to a more normal routine.

Corey Thie has been looking forward to getting his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The shots are quick and painless and they can get you in and out of here real quick, which is nice,” Thie said.

Thie has spent much of the pandemic isolating at home. While he has the protection of the vaccine now, he’s feeling anxious about getting out more into the public.

“Some of the angst I’m feeling is probably everybody’s not getting the shot. People are still going out when they’re sick and it continues to spread and that’s a fear that I have,” Thie said.

Calls to the Helpline Center have shifted from ‘where do I get a vaccination?’ to ‘what do I do about the anxiety I’m feeling after the vaccination?’

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a populated area or a rural area, having some of that re-entry anxiety can be prevalent anyplace,” Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams said.

For people who have received their shots, it’s best to take small steps first, if they’re feeling that re-entry anxiety.

“Maybe there’s one activity where you’re going to step out and interact with people face-to-face and of course, you don’t want it to be a large group setting, you want it to be a small group situation to start with,” Kittams said.

Kittams says maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask, after your vaccinations, can also help relieve that anxiety. Thie plans to keep masking-up, but with some reservations.

“That kind of scares me a bit, too, it’s kind of a crutch now, you know,” Thie said.

Kittams says even leaving home to get vaccinated has been an anxiety trigger for some people.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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