As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital that we pay attention to mental health. Over the course of the pandemic, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, grief and depression have become common place. Not only are individuals worried for their physical health and that of their loved ones, they may also be experiencing financial instability, isolation due to social distancing and quarantine measures, or perhaps a sense of hopelessness. It is important to make some adaptations while we hope for brighter and safer days ahead. Doing so can greatly improve and protect your mental health.
Tips For Improving and Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19:
Ask for Help and Seek Mental Health Support
It can be really challenging to reach out and ask for help when you are struggling. While it may not feel comfortable, asking for help when you need it is the most important tip on this list. Asking for help can start small with things like asking a partner to assist you with a task around the house when you feel overwhelmed. Asking for help may also mean contacting a mental health professional for professional mental health support.
Most importantly, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or fear that you may, ask for help by utilizing mental health crisis lines and support networks. Here are some crisis lines that you can keep handy:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- The Trevor Project: (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ individuals under the age of 25.) 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678.
- Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline- (Provides treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing mental health or substance use disorders.) 1-800-662-4357
Social distancing measures, while working to keep us safe and protect our health, have left many people feeling isolated and lonely. It is important to maintain social contact as best as you can during this time. Here are some ideas for staying socially connected, while socially distanced:
- Talk to your friends and family and determine a day and time that is open for everyone. Schedule a weekly video chat to catch up.
- Find online virtual gaming spaces where you can play games with your friends or family online together. Set up a weekly game night.
- Where you would normally text, try calling where you are able to instead, so you can have more of a socially connected conversation.
- Have themed video call “parties”. You and your friends or family can dress up according to the theme, and show off your outfits during the video call. This can be a fun way to get out of your typical routine and comfort zone!
Limit News Intake
It is important to stay informed during this time, to make sure you are taking the proper steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. However, the constant influx of COVID-19 news can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. Limit your news intake if possible by setting a designated amount of time per day, perhaps one hour, to catch up on news. Receive your COVID-19 important news and updates directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, as opposed to watching lengthy news presentations. Limiting your news intake, can be really beneficial to your mental health.