HealthVoices of Hope


How a Richmond tattoo artist came back from pandemic-induced depression

Posted at 12:44 PM, Jan 19, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- The number of reported cases of depression has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the isolation and uncertainty.

Faith Broache is one of those people who needed help to find her way out of a mental health spiral.

"It's been an incredible challenge and it's been a huge trial, but it's also taught me a lot about myself," she said. "I had no idea when I was going to work again, if I could work again, and I think that sense of uncertainty in the midst of isolation was really difficult."

Her isolation grew more painful with the loss of a friend to suicide and a grandparent to illness.

"She passed away right before Thanksgiving," Broache said about her grandmother's death. "I had not seen her all year since she lived in an assisted living facility."

Broache's story was not unique in 2020.

Therapists said depression during this pandemic has been widespread.

"We have been in a prolonged state of stress and trauma over the past 10 months and it is so hard for our bodies to readjust to that," Sarah McLillard, a therapist at WHOA Behavioral Health in Henrico County, said.

People who have not experienced mental health challenges before found themselves dealing with depression and anxiety, she said.

It is important not to wait until you're in crisis mode to ask for help, she added.

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"Richmond has a fantastic community of mental health workers," she said. "Telehealth has opened so many doors at this point you could really get a clinician from anywhere across the state to help you out."

Aside from a therapy session, mental health workers said practicing meditation and mindfulness can help alleviate stress.

Regular exercise, eating well, and taking time to do things you enjoy can also lift spirits.

As a tattoo artist, Faith Broache said creativity -- both inside and outside her Richmond studio -- has been an outlet.

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"Being creative has been hugely helpful for me and I find it very therapeutic," she said.

But it's in reaching out to others in the midst of her own pain, that Faith said she's found the most comfort.

"I try to check in on my friends as much as they're checking on me," she said. "It really reminds me that I'm not alone here. I'm not just existing on an island in my house by myself. I have people who care about me and I care about them and we can care for each other, even from a distance."

The segment is sponsored by WHOA Behavioral Health.