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Jada Pinkett Smith and Guests Address Anxiety From Coronavirus Pandemic, Self-Quarantining

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By Zachary Holt

While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly claimed a tragic number of lives and is continuing to make thousands of people sick, there are other casualties from its wrath. Due to the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19, public health officials and governmental entities have ordered people to stay inside and self-quarantine for an indefinite amount of time. Tie that in with the fact that countless people have lost their jobs and face much uncertainty in the future and we have a full-blown mental health crisis inundated with anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

Dr. Ramani Durvasula and Jay Shetty Join the 'Red Table Talk' Discussion

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To discuss the mental health crisis that is supplementing the coronavirus pandemic, Jada Pinkett Smith made it the main topic for her latest installment of 'Red Table Talk'. With her were some of the mainstays including her daughter, Willow Smith, and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Pinkett Smith also had two guests on the show: motivational vlogger, Jay Shetty, and clinical psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Both came into the discussion with years of experience of dealing with mental health in their respective fields.

Durvasula Explains the Pandemic Is Exacerbating Mental Health Issues

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula initiated the conversation, noting that the coronavirus pandemic was particularly hard on those with anxiety and other mental health disorders.

"My poor clients, a lot of them are struggling and they’re struggling a lot. It brings up old anxieties," she said during the episode. "People who are living with anxiety, this is a multiplier. Never before have we in the mental health profession taken on something of this magnitude."

Durvasula went on to explain that she's continued to maintain online consultations and sessions with her clients amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but despite this, it's still been very challenging.

'People Are Literally Waking Up in the Middle of the Night and Having Panic Attacks...'

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The clinical psychologist shared that the heightened sense of fear and worry has only further exacerbated cases of anxiety, leading to an overall lack of sleep among countless people.

"People are literally waking up in the middle of the night and having panic attacks," she explained. "And it’s not just about the virus — it’s about jobs, and money, and future and family. People are thinking catastrophically."

For Durvasula, it's important for people to develop a 'routine' to keep a feeling of normalcy amid the crisis. She also expressed that it's ok to have wide-ranging emotions. "It’s okay to really normalize that any reaction at this point is okay. Don’t judge your reaction," Durvasula said to the group.

Shetty Believes People Need to Maintain 'Self-Care' During This Tough Time

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Jay Shetty agreed with much of what Durvasula said and encouraged people to focus on self-care during this time. "We deal with more challenges in 24 hours today, because of what we are exposed to, than what we were in a whole lifetime 25 years ago," Shetty explained.

"We are just hearing about each and every person’s pain, and that’s a lot of pain to process. We have to become careful with whose pain and how much pain we can take on."

Upon hearing this, Pinkett Smith revealed that self-care is an area that she needs to work on. "Now that's my codependency, you know I want to," she said to the group. "This has been a real-time for me — I have no choice but to let go, and let God."

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