Across Georgia and the nation, schools and businesses are closed, major events have been canceled and millions of people have been ordered to work from home to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Life as we know it has been disrupted. 

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series “What You Need To Know: Coronavirus” provides fact-based information on getting through the virus with health and sanity intact. 

Jaye Watson from Emory’s Brain Health Center and Host and Executive Producer of the GPB show Your Fantastic Mind spoke with Emory University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Dr. Toby Goldsmith, who is also the Women’s Mental Health Program director, about some of the concerns and stresses people are feeling related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Here's what Goldsmith told us:

Patients’ Biggest Concerns

"It depends on the patient, but this morning there were concerns from patients voiced about 'How long will this last? Why won’t my boss let me work from home? And what impact will that have on my family?' People are worried about their loved ones. People are worried about the economy. The worries go on and on because there are going to be many ripple effects from this virus."

Pregnancy Concerns

"My pregnant patients are always worried about the unknown, but this has brought in a new factor. We don’t know how this is going to impact pregnancies. We appear to know that there is not what we call vertical transmission in that there’s an automatic passage of the virus to the babies, but we have had other viruses such as rubella, which we now know causes birth defects. We don’t know what the implications of this may be."

Coronavirus Can Infect Anyone

"I personally think we’re beyond talking. I think we’re at the point of berating people. People need to be aware that this is affecting all of us and they need to use whatever tools they have in their armamentarium--whether it’s guilt or threats-- but they need to let people know that this is affecting all of us. We don’t know who else is infected with this virus right now. Donovan Mitchell was infected by one of his teammates and he is, right now, asymptomatic. And had he not been part of that, it’s very likely he never would’ve been tested if he were one of us and he would’ve been out there infecting other people."

Long Term Impact

"I don’t think we really know. I think it’s important for all of us who are impacted by this to think about how we are going to be protecting ourselves, both physically and mentally. So it’s making sure we have contact with other human beings, whether they be the human beings in our home or the human being on the other side of the world who we contact via FaceTime or some other means. We need to telephone our loved ones. We might want to return to some old things like writing letters to people, but we need to take care of ourselves.

For children, it’s important, as parents, to put our kids on a schedule so they know what to expect on a daily basis, especially as we’re having to homeschool our children. If the kids don’t know every morning at 9 o’ clock we’re all sitting down and practicing our letters, it’s going to be hard day after day to get them to do that. At the same time, I think the parents are going to have to mirror for their children and demonstrate to them good behavior. So, it’s a great time, I think, for parents to learn something new, to open a book, to teach themselves a new language. We should take advantage of this."

Domestiv Violence Concerns And Resources

"For families who are confined to one another where there is an individual who may not have the best interest of his or her family members, I am quite concerned if people are stuck in their house day after day, week after week. I think we’re at risk of seeing more domestic violence. I think it’s important for people to reach out if that’s a circumstance to The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. It’s available to help family or family members get away when necessary. That’s a big concern of mine, just making sure that people are safe from not only this virus but safe from people who may perpetuate against them.