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Morning Brief: COVID Mental Health Help, L.A. County Case Jump, Unhoused Wish List

STOCK CORONAVIRUS HEALTH
A sign outside of a clinic in Maywood advertising COVID-19 Testing.
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Dec. 23.

The pandemic whiplash is taking its toll. 

The surging omicron variant has torn through many’s hope for a return to normalcy this holiday season. The sudden increase in cases has uprooted plans and forced people to re-think their ideas of gathering, traveling, and celebrating as 2021 comes to a close.

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This feeling has become all too familiar during the pandemic, but you’re not alone.

Mental health experts spoke with our newsroom’s’s AirtTalk show about the best ways to cope.

Setting realistic expectations can aid against the omnipresent uncertainty, according to Dr. Erlanger Turner, assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University.

“Life is uncertain, a lot of things don’t go the way we plan or expect them, and so how do we navigate when our expectations are set a certain way, but they’re not met?” he said.

Holidays during the pandemic also bring to mind what the special days looked like before the pandemic. And they bring to mind those who no longer can celebrate with us.

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Take a moment to grieve. It’s important to give trauma its space and to remember, said Dr. Curly Bonds, chief medical officer for the L.A. County Department of Mental Health.

“I think it’s important to make new traditions but also not to forget some of the sadness,” he said.

And above all, know that you can always ask for help. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go here for online chat.

What Else You Need To Know Today

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Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

Before You Go...Student Loan Relief, Good Grief

STUDENT LOAN FREEZE
A piggy bank.
(Fabian Blank/Unsplash)

Take a breath, maybe buy yourself something nice with your tax return. President Biden announced an extension on the repayment for 41 million federal student loan borrowers on Wednesday.  

Payments were originally slated to resume in February. May will be the new target month.

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