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San Diego psychiatrist says Capitol riots taking a toll on mental health

Here are some tips to cope with a stressful time.

SAN DIEGO — Experts said what we saw in Washington DC last week with the Capitol riots is taking a toll on our mental health. We were already dealing with the pandemic, the rollout of the vaccine, and now this. 

San Diego psychiatrist Dr. Michael Lardon said his practice is busier than ever. He told News 8 the last time he saw the volume of patients like this was after the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

The violent encounter at the Capitol caused the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer.

"It’s our country, it’s our government, [and] it’s our Capitol. It’s like being violated. It’s like our home being broken into and it just conveys a sense that you’re not safe, even at a very large level," said Lardon.

Once again, Americans were glued to their televisions, watching another crisis in our country unfold.

"There’s a sense of losing control, and we all want to be safe. We all want to have some control over our environment and right now everything is so uncertain," he said.

"Use your rational mind and say 'The Constitution is something that’s protected us now for 200+ years' and have some faith in it,'" he added.

Lardon said it's important to focus on the present, and not become too anxious about the past or the future.

"Take a walk on the beach. We still live in a beautiful place and be present with friends, even if it’s on Zoom. Get out of your head and try not to worry about all these other things," said Lardon.

Though we should stay informed, he says consuming too much news and social media is unhealthy.

"You have to make an effort to connect with the world at large outside, and be normal, be more natural," he said. "All of these things just pull us into a vortex and it doesn’t feel good."

Lardon recommended putting down the remote and stepping away from our computers and phones. He said take a break and let your mind go elsewhere.

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