Mental Health During COVID-19
Access to educational information and skill building tools can help you make informed decisions and also learn some new ways to cope with unexpected stressors during this uncertain time
Additional Information & Resources to Cope With COVID-19
With the developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolving rapidly over the last several weeks, it is common for people to experience the strain of stress and feeling the symptoms of anxiety. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain that results from very demanding circumstances, while anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress that leads to something with an uncertain outcome. The constant news updates and changes to our daily lives alone are enough to disrupt our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Additionally, we may have concerns about our family and financial situation. Whether it’s not being able to find common items at the grocery store, confusion about what to do with children if schools are closed, desperation at watching the financial markets fluctuate, or more immediate concerns about the health and physical safety of your loved ones.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created troublesome stress and anxiety for people who have never experienced these distresses before and has further escalated challenges for people who have. Regardless of the level of impact these events are having on your mental health and functioning, looking for solutions can be overwhelming.
It is as important now than ever to practice self-care and utilize the social support of those around you. Consider what you can do today to help relieve the stress. That may mean doing yoga in your house and calling a friend, but there are creative solutions to help through this difficult time.
Fact Sheet / Coronavirus (COVID-19) >
Website / CDC: Managing Stress & Anxiety >
Website / National Council for Behavioral Health: Resources & Tools for COVID-19 >
Fact Sheet / Facts and Myths of COVID-19 >
Video / Learn About COVID-19 to Feel Better Prepared (13 min) >
Video / Staying Calm and Connected in Uncertain Times (2 min) >
Social distancing is a term that is new to many of us and involves avoiding large gatherings and keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) between yourself and others when possible. Public health officials call for extended periods of social distancing, enforcing more strict regulations around gatherings and other places where people commonly interact in close proximity like restaurants, bars and movie theaters. While the goal or social distancing is to reduce the transmission of the virus, and there is good evidence to show that it does, it can be very disruptive to our lives and add to the mental burden many of us are experiencing at this time.
While social distancing is key to reducing transmission of the virus, these self-imposed social restrictions can take a toll on our mental wellbeing. Reduced social contact can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness, which can get worse as time goes on. That is why it is so important to find ways to remain connected to your social support network, even if you can be with them in person. Instead of social distancing, we should think of it as physical distancing, where we need to find unique ways to remain socially connected.
Article / American Psychological Association: Tips to Cope with Social Distancing >
Article / The Dos and Don’ts of Social Distancing >
Video / Mental Health Professional Talks about COVID-19 Concerns & Social Distancing (4 min) >
Self-isolation is a step beyond social distancing and involves separation of a person known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease. Experts recommend self-isolation for those who have contacted a health professional and show symptoms of the disease, including fever, dry cough, and fatigue, but haven’t yet been tested yet. It’s a highly effective method for slowing the spread of the virus, but can have a significant impact on mental health.
Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. This is a strict isolation and is imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
Regardless if you are someone who decides to self-isolate for the benefit of others or is required to be quarantined, the emotional impact of isolation and quarantine can be extremely distressing for most people. Here are some resources that help you care for your mental health:
Video / COVID-19: Tips for Managing Social Isolation (4 minutes) >
Fact Sheet / Tips on Dealing with Self-Isolation >
Article / How to Best Self-Isolate if You Have Concerns You May be Sick >
Article / How to Protect Your Mental Health During Quarantine >
Article / The Family Lockdown Guide: How to Emotionally Prepare for COVID-19 Quarantine >
For many, financial fears are at the top of the growing list of things that are causing stress and anxiety related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Over the past few weeks the financial markets have seen extreme movements, there has been talk of a slowing economy with the possibility of a recession and more immediately, many people, especially those in the service industry, have seen their hours cut or eliminated. When situations threaten our financial stability, it is easy to become overburdened and leave us feeling full or anxiety, helpless and hopeless. While these financial fears may seem impossible to overcome, there are things that you can do and resources are becoming available from a variety of companies and organizations.
Article / Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Protect Yourself Financially from the Impact of the COVID-19 >
Article / Department of Labor: Guidance on Unemployment Insurance During COVID-19 >
Article / How to Cope with Financial Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19 >
Article / Information on Unemployment Insurance for Workers Who Miss Time on the Job >
It’s important to remember that try as we may, it is impossible to completely insulate children from what is going on in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact this is having on everything around them. While they might not fully understand what is going on, it is beneficial to help them express their feelings and make meaning of their experiences in age and developmentally appropriate ways. The fact that they may be out of school for an extended period of time or that parents are suddenly out of work or working from home can cause disruptions to daily routine or raise uncertainty in children.
It’s common for parents to have questions about what children need to know, how to best explain difficult things to them in ways that they understand and how to help them cope with a mix of emotions that may be new to them. Here are some resources that can help you figure this out:
Article / CDC: Talking with Children About COVID-19 >
Comic / A “Just for Kids” Comic Exploring COVID-19 >
Audio / Coronavirus and Parenting: What you Need to Know (13 min) >
Article / How to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19 >
If you provide care for an elderly, disabled or chronically ill person, it is very likely that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has made a difficult job even harder and more stressful. In addition to the daily stressors and challenges of caring for another person, you now have to worry about things like: will the there be disruptions to obtaining necessary medications and treatments, will home health support still be come for regular visits, will medical appointments be cancelled or delayed and perhaps most distressing of all, will you transmit the virus to them.
For caregivers who already have a full plate, the additional stressors created by the coronavirus can feel especially overwhelming and anxiety provoking. As a person who cares for others, it is important that you also take care of yourself emotionally. It can be helpful to know the things that are in your control, as well as the things that are out of your control, so that you can make the most informed decision and manage your worry and concerns to the extent possible.
Here are some resources that you may find helpful as you figure out the best ways to continue in your role as a caregiver:
Article / How to Care for the Elderly Without Putting Them at Risk of COVID-19 >
Article / Protecting a Senior Against COVID-19 >
Article / 5 Things to Know About COVID-19 and People with Disabilities >
Article / Caregiver Stress – Tips for Taking Care of Yourself >
Article / Self-Care for the Caregiver >
For people with preexisting mental health needs or those who find that anxiety caused by the current situation is causing significant disruption to your daily life, it is important to know that mental health care is still available for you. While you may not be able to see a therapist or psychiatrist in person, you may be able to receive virtual care through a telehealth provider. Many insurance companies now cover teletherapy and telepsychiatry and there are also a number of companies that offer low cost virtual mental health care.
Here are some resources that can help you understand more about professional mental health care treatment options:
National Alliance on Mental Illness – COVID-19 Information and Resources >
What therapists tell patients who are anxious about coronavirus >
If you find that you are struggling during these uncertain times, please know that you are not alone and that support is available. If you feel that you are having a mental health crisis or are at risk of harming yourself or others, it is important that you reach out for help now.
Call the Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online.
To reach the Crisis Text Line text “HOME” to 741-741 for support.
You can also call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room for assistance.