JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s time for some to heal and look ahead with a healthy mindset. A Tri-Cities doctor is passionate about helping others move forward by improving their mental health.

The pandemic changed lives and the mental health of many. Dr. Tim Perry of Frontier Health says the stress and trauma were too much for some, and for them, the need to focus on mental health became a priority.

“After going through the last three and a half years, I think it’s on the mind of everyone how this pandemic has affected our mental well-being,” Perry said. “Stigma still exists out there, and we need to help people understand that part of the human experience is needing other human beings to help us deal with problems and situations and things that we’re challenged with.”

For Perry, helping others improve their mental health is much more than a job.

“Many people say that going into mental health is like a calling, and I think that’s a truth,” he said. “It has to come from the heart because it’s a human connection. To other human beings and the needs that others have. And being able to help them overcome and accomplish sometimes immense challenges and barriers to be the best person they can possibly be and the best contributor to society that an individual can be.”

And Perry says mentally and physically healthy people make a healthier society.

“I think there’s always opportunity for us to have more attention focused on mental health,” he said. “Sometimes it gets sidetracked or sometimes we look at things like physical health without recognizing that physical health and mental health are so interconnected and part of one another. So I think the more attention we can give to mental health, the better it is for us as a society and for the individuals that we work and live with every day of our lives.”