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The stress of constant violence and controversial issues weighs on mental health of Americans

Dr. Patrick Runnels of University Hospitals offers tips to help deal with this stress in the moment.

CLEVELAND — The constant barrage of violence and controversial issues that happen on a near daily basis in the country is having a strong negative mental effect on many Americans.

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May 14th - In Buffalo, a gunman shoots and kills 10 African Americans.  

May 24th - In Uvalde, Texas, 19 elementary students and two teachers were killed by a gunman.

June 24 - Roe v. Wade is reversed and millions take to the street to protest the right to an abortion.    

July 3rd - Police release video of the shooting death of Jayland Walker in Akron. Peaceful protests and a night of civil unrest occurred in the city.

July 4th - In Highland Park, Illinois, seven people at a 4th of July parade were shot and killed by a rooftop gunman. 46 people were injured.  

Dr. Patrick Runnels, a psychiatrist with University Hospitals, says the constant barrage of bad news causes anxiety, "We have a news cycle full of things that are stressing people out. We are living in pretty tumultuous times and when you live in that kind of times when there is a lot of change and uncertainty of the future you are bond to have a lot of stress."

And the stress of seeing the pictures and video coverage can be overwhelming to so many.   

Dr. Runnels says everyday Americans have similar complaints.  He gives us some free advice, "Minimize or constrain the amount of time we spend absorbing bad news."

And in order to do that, Dr. Runnels says it may help to follow these suggestions.

  • Put aside all social media
  • Take a walk 
  • Read a book
  • Complete a puzzle or an adult coloring book
  • Enjoy time with your friends or family 
  • Exercise 

And while these tips seem obvious, a lot of us don't take advantage of them. Dr. Runnels says, "When the stress of everyday living becomes difficult these few tips can get you back into balancing your life. They are designed to pull you to be in the moment and that ability to be in the moment is an incredible help."

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