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As coronavirus takes emotional toll, mental health professionals brace for spike in demand


NEW YORK (Reuters) – For the last few days, unease and paranoia have followed Ann Ostberg like a black cloud, as the coronavirus swept through the United States, reaching all 50 states by this week.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks his dog on a nearly empty South beach during the coronavirus outbreak in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

With state and local governments urging isolation to stem the spread of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly respiratory illness, the 62-year-old Nebraska woman worries she will not be able to provide emotional support for her daughter, whose husband is paralyzed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. If someone were to infect her son-in-law with his weakened immune system, “he’d be dead,” Ostberg said. Chicagoan Mike Wisler was prescribed a sedative to help him sleep when the financial and emotional impact of the pandemic hit the 50-year-old bartender. “My mind won’t shut off,” Wisler said. “As soon as I wake up, it’s like, ‘How am I going to get by this month?’” With public gatherings banned, his work tending bar at parties and private events has evaporated. In North Carolina, 23-year-old Niko, who asked that his last name not be used, is in recovery for drug addiction, and fears a relapse. The grocery store clerk is suffering nervous ticks and bouts of reticence while trying to put on a brave face to avoid alarming shoppers. “What I’m worrying about in…

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