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Take care of your mental health during the pandemic

 

Last updated 8/19/2020 at 8:09am

Dr. Marilynn Holman

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all people. It is a stressful time. Our lives are different. Common reactions to pandemics are fear and worries about what will happen. Social distancing has been instituted to prevent viral spread. Humans are social creatures, and being isolated impacts our health. Everyone responds to stress differently. Some common reactions are: fear about your health, fear about the health of others, changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, poor concentration, worsening health problems, worsening mental health conditions, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco products, and other substances.

There are many ways to improve your mental wellbeing. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Connect with loved ones by phone or video chat. We need each other. Being informed is important; however, limit daily intake of news. Watching news in different platforms can worsen distress. Eat healthy meals. Exercise regularly. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Make a daily schedule. Structure can help during times of change. Avoid excessive alcohol and substance use. Take time to do activities you enjoy. Talk to your friends about how you feel. Connect remotely with community organizations. If stress is impacting your daily function for several days in a row, then contact your healthcare provider about treatment options.

During times of stress people can have thoughts of suicide. If you are in a crisis, call 911, go to the nearest emergency department, or call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If someone is talking about suicide, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 911. There are ways to make our homes safer. Lock up all medications. Discard excess medications at a Take Back Location. Store all firearms in a locked safe. If you are concerned about a loved one who has access to firearms, then consider discussing a temporary hold or transfer of firearms. For more information regarding creating a safe home, go to Safer Homes, Suicide Aware website.

Disaster Distress Helpline 

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Call 800-273-8255

Crisis Textline  - Text TALK to 741741

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

Resources

CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Safer Homes, Suicide Aware

https://depts.washington.edu/saferwa/what-is-a-safer-home/

Take Back Your Meds

http://www.takebackyourmeds.org/search-by-map/

Dr. Marilynn Holman is a psychiatrist at Coulee Medical Center.

 

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