Supporting your Mental Health during the COVID-19 Crisis

Everyone around us is responding to the current state of uncertainty in different ways and to varying degrees.  The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be stressful and it can be difficult to cope with stress, anxiety, changes in routine and feelings of isolation.

The disruptions to daily life are being felt by many, children are home from school, time is spent working from home, places of worship have closed, and the supportive social gatherings that filled our free time are now off limits.

People respond to stressful situations in many different ways, so it’s important to realize that what might work for you may not work for someone else. But taking steps to take care of yourself and your family can help to manage the increased feelings of instability.

Things you can do to support yourself during the COVID-19 Crisis:

(National Institute of Mental Health)

Take breaks from the news. Give yourself time and space to think about and focus on other things.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate. Eat regular meals; get some physical activity; get a full night’s sleep; avoid alcohol.

Make time to unwind. Concentrate on a hobby or take up a new hobby.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about concerns on how you are feeling.

Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done today and what can wait. Be okay if priorities shift as changes in schedules and routines occur. Recognize what you have accomplished at the end of the day.

Focus on the facts. Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make the outbreak less stressful.

As a caregiver (parent, grandparent, other family relative, nurse, behavioral health supporter, neighbor) remember the three R’s while working with others. Reassure that they are safe, maintain a Routine, and Regulate yourself so you can co-regulate others.  You can’t give what you don’t have yourself. (Dr. Heather Forkey, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Mass Medical School and pediatrician at UMass Memorial Medical Center)

Resources for those in distress:

In an emergency: Call 911

Maine CRISIS Hotline: 1-888-568-1112

Maine Online Resources: 211 Maine

NAMI Maine: NAMI Family Education Classes being offered via Zoom, FMI and to register visit

G.E.A.R Parent Network: 1-800-264-9224

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline:  Call 1-800-985-5990 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).  Text TalkWithUs to 66746

It is important to remember that social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.  Today, modern technologies are available to many of us.  Continue to connect with loved ones and friends through high tech means or through a simple phone call.  These continued connections will help to maintain ties during the stressful days ahead and will give you strength to withstand this difficult time.

COVID-19 is going to end, we just don’t know when.  Increase optimism and courage by remembering, at least once a day, what are the things you can be grateful for today?

Post written Emily Cornforth, LCSW, Clinical Director for Aspire Behavioral Health & Counseling. For more information, contact her at 250-0756. 

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