Houston hosting free mental health virtual town hall meeting on surviving pandemic during the holidays

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city of Houston is focusing on mental health as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Sylvester Turner's Health Equity Response task force will host a virtual town hall meeting Thursday night to focus on surviving the pandemic during the holidays.

From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., you'll be able to receive free advice on coping with the demands of parenting, finances, and physical and emotional stress during the holiday season.

Before attending, you need to register and can do so at this link.

Mental health providers in the Houston area have said they are seeing an increase in anxiety, depression and substance use. Some experts point toward social media and the 24-hour news cycle as having a negative effect on mental well-being.

SEE ALSO: Sugar Land, Missouri City-area mental health providers see anxiety, depression levels rise

To help, Connie Almeida, the director of Fort Bend County Behavioral Health Services, recommends setting dedicated times every day for reading and watching the news so it does not become all-consuming. The same limit should be set for social media.

Health experts also recommend focusing on self-care and remembering that those battling substance use need extra support at this time.

The video above describes a simple exercise that is quick and can be practiced anywhere to help reduce stress.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.