An illustration of a brain.
Credit: Sam Bermas-Dawes, GPB News

Friday on Political Rewind: Through the past year and-a-half, public health lockdowns, social isolation and economic strain exacerbated mental illness in many communities.

Now the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the spreading delta variant is a source of renewed anxiety and angst. The pandemic continues to seep into every aspect of our lives, so it can be hard to find mental respite from its depressing effects. A panel of mental health professionals shared their experiences with patients and offered us some ideas on how to gain equilibrium in these difficult times.

Dr. Roy Reese, associate professor in the Morehouse School of Medicine, said the pandemic only served to intensify the struggle for marginalized communities facing social inequity.

"The reality is that there were a number of people who were isolated prior to the pandemic," he said. "There were a number of people who have food insecurity prior to the pandemic. And so we have to be careful to paint an accurate picture. The picture didn't change. The clarity with which we understand the picture at this point, however, is sharper."


Dr. Ray Kotwicki — Chief medical officer, Skyland Trails

Dr. Elena Kim — Psychotherapist, Pathway Center for Psychotherapy

Dr. Roy Reese — Associate professor, Morehouse School of Medicine and Director of behavioral health at Akoma Counseling and Consulting

Patricia Murphy — Political reporter and columnist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution