Out of respect for those who are suffering as a result of COVID-19, I will refrain from using my usual firedog-isms in this post. Please #BeSafe and #StayHealthy.
As COVID-19 cases increase, most people are adapting to life in the “new normal.” Unfortunately, others are experiencing anxiety, fear, and depression. Millions of people are facing newfound emotions brought about by the pandemic. These result not just from Coronavirus symptoms and the lives lost. They also stem from social isolation caused by lockdowns, mask requirements, social distancing measures, severe economic downturn, and a break from normal routines.
Mental health effects of COVID-19 are just as important to address as physical effects.
Consider, for example, that one in five is said to already suffer from mental health conditions. And one out of two is at risk of developing mental illness. It’s important public agencies and private industry leaders learn how to address Coronavirus-related mental health issues as they relate to personal, professional, and policy measures.
Mental Health America (MHA) regularly monitors anxiety levels in the general populace. According to their data, clinical anxiety increased by 19% between February and the first two weeks of March, when the pandemic first hit America. This suggests thousands of people’s sense of well-being are drastically impacted by concerns about the virus, which has infected more than 12 million people, worldwide.
How to Cope
People react differently to stressful situations. The way you respond to stress can depend on your background, social support from family or friends, financial situation, health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. Changes brought on by COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone. Watch for those who may be responding dramatically to COVID-19-induced stress:
- Anyone with a substance abuse disorder
- Caretakers responsible for family members or other loved ones
- Citizens who do not have access to information in their primary language
- Essential workers in the hospitality industry
- Frontline workers, such as health care providers and first responders
- Members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
- People who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (older people and those who have underlying medical conditions)
- Individuals who are socially isolated from others, including those who live alone or in rural areas
- People who have lost their jobs, had work hours reduced, or experienced other major changes to their employment status
- Anyone who lives in a group setting
- Disabled or developmental delayed
- The Homeless
- People with pre-existing mental health conditions
When Things Get Tough
If the stress load is too much to bear, it might be time to seek outside assistance. If you need help, please seek it out. And remember that, no matter how it feels, you are not alone. We are all in this together!
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend taking the following steps during times of crisis:
- Call 911, in case of any immediate danger or concern if you or someone needs help
- Disaster Distress Help Line: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255
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