Horry County clinic sees rise in clients dealing with anxiety during pandemic

Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A local counseling group said it’s seeing a huge jump in clients with anxiety issues due to coronavirus pandemic-related stressors.

The Oceanic Counseling Group opened its first location off Glenns Bay Road in May. But due to the number of people needing support during this pandemic, the staff said they had to open a second location about five miles away in Surfside Beach, to help more families get through these uncertain times.

Clinical director for Oceanic Counseling Group, Kenza Haddock, said on average, her counselors see about 25 clients each, and right now, about 94% of that client population is dealing with anxiety disorders.

“Had we not been going through COVID-19, we wouldn’t be seeing a high number of people experiencing anxiety,” Haddock said.

She said many people are dealing with lots of stressors stemming from the pandemic, and that built up stress leads to anxiety, whether it’s jobs concerns, safety precautions or returning back to their normal life.

Haddock said a good number of their patients are parents, concerned about the safety and livelihood of their kids when the school year begins.

“[Stressed about] if they have to work [and aren’t able] to send their kids to school, how are they going to deal with that,” Haddock said.

And for those parents feeling the stress of it all, Haddock has three major tips that could help to reduce anxiety levels.

  1. Create a structured routine in the household, such as a designated time for the kids to eat dinner and go to bed.
  2. Communicate with your kids-know what they’re feeling because they could be feeling anxiety as well.
  3. Shift your focus onto the things you can control and less on people and circumstances you can’t control.

“That’s what increases anxiety, trying to focus on what everyone else is doing and changing their daily habits,” Haddock said.”That’s not effective. When we’re grounded as parents it helps our kids because our kids learn by modeling and by seeing what we’re doing. They emulate that. If you’re waking up feeling like you cannot function or so overwhelmed, call, get help. It’s okay.”

Haddock also recommends parents and families devoting themselves daily to a 10-15 minute morning routine free of distractions, to focus their energies on the day ahead and not the stressors.

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