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‘A major body blow’: 2020’s impact on Charlotte’s mental health

In Charlotte, at least two area mental health providers noted an increase in requests for their services during the coronavirus pandemic, including HopeWay. Similarly, Reia Chapman, founder and director of clinical services for the Center for Family and Maternal Wellness, said she’s hiring new clinicians in response to the increased requests for care.

Chapman’s practice caters primarily to people of color and other groups that aren’t as likely to receive mental health care, she said. Recently she’s seen her clients grow anxious about what is going on in their community, specifically those with children who are concerned with their interactions with police.

She said many of her professional clients have felt less comfortable in the workplace, saying they’ve felt more targeted and experienced microaggressions. “I’ve even had people to the point of having to take leave, like short term disability, because it’s gotten so anxiety provoking, and people are concerned they’re going to lose their jobs,” Chapman said.

Chapman has also noticed clients having “somatic” issues: headaches, trouble sleeping and hyper-vigilance. Many of these stressors pile onto existing worries caused by the pandemic, including finances and emotional health.

Chapman noted that the intersection of the pandemic and protests for racial justice could cause direct conflict within families. She said some may feel inspired by the moment to protest and organize while others are more concerned with their safety from the coronavirus.

“The pandemic is sort of forcing white America to sort of experience in a very mild way what it may be like to experience ... lack or disparity,” Chapman said. “So I think that sort of leads into the energy behind the protests.”

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