Israeli war: How to protect your mental health while still getting information

Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 7:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’re thousands of miles away from the war unfolding in Israel. However, the conflict may feel closer as you are exposed to all the images and stories from various platforms.

So, we wanted to find out how to protect your mental health as you monitor the latest developments.

The images, sounds, and information about war are more accessible than ever.

“It definitely has been taking a toll on me because I don’t think the reality is really set in on how serious it is over there,” said Wesley Grant.

Social media platforms can result in an overload of that information.

“It’s really disturbing to see some of the images and stuff that’s going on,” added Grant. “Especially like on X, when you’re just scrolling on Twitter and see it go from like 100 random casualties to you actually seeing the real-life casualties, the real-life bombings happening over there. It’s kind of scary.”

But many of you do feel the need to walk the fine line of staying informed.

“It’s definitely a lot to take in,” noted David Olszewski. “I feel like it’s pretty important to be able to see all the images and, you know, actually see what’s going on. I think it’s, you know, making sure you don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole, right? Because then you just start learning about way too much. I think it gets blown out of perspective.”

We asked a licensed professional counselor about how we can protect our mental health while seeing all of that. Director of Crossroads Counseling Center Stephanie Smith Jefferson says to watch for signs you’re getting overwhelmed, whether that be feelings of anxiety, madness, or changes in breathing.

“One of the things we have to think about is to ask yourself, what is it that you want to know?” she noted. “How much do you want to know and the reason you want to know? So, when you look at that, you may determine that you know this is enough. From what I’ve just seen, even a little soundbite is more than enough, and then disconnect from that.”

She suggests finding outlets to deal with that stress, like going for a walk, listening to music, or even finding ways to help locally.

“Most of us are nosy, and we want to know things,” she explained. “And sometimes we just have to remember sometimes too much is really way too much.”

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