Imporant Question to Ask
cALL 800-273-8255 or
text "sos" to 741741
questions about mental health during the pandemic answered
by an expert -
5 questions about
mental health during the pandemic answered by an expert
PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz spoke with Dr. Joshua Gordon about the best ways to mitigate stress during the pandemic. Gordon is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders.
What can you do to take care of yourself?
In this period of isolation and anxiety, Gordon recommends staying on top of three key things in an effort to protect your mental health: Take care of your body, take care of your mind and maintain your social connections.
A helpful way to stay mentally healthy is to make sure the rest of your body is healthy, which means opting for healthy meals and trying to exercise each day. Gordon says taking walks can be beneficial to your health, as long as you maintain social distancing while outside.
Its often difficult to know the appropriate amount of anxiety you should be feeling.
Gordon suggests asking yourself: Are you doing the things you need to do?
Some examples: Can you still buy groceries and make food? Can you take care of your kids? Can you get up at a normal time in the morning? If so, then youre probably doing okay, he said. If not, its prudent to seek help, either from your support systems, or from professionals.
Being purposeful about maintaining your social connections can serve to be helpful during this time of social distancing. Connecting with people around you can really help, Gordon said.
What can you do to take care of others?
Even before the pandemic hit, about 20% of Americans had experienced, or were experiencing, some form of depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Any kind of stress can exacerbate any kind of mental illnesses, Gordon said.
Because of this, its more important than ever to keep an eye on your friends and family who may have a history of suicidal ideation or self harm.
If you think someone might be in trouble, Gordon advises to just reach out and ask.
Many believe even asking a person if theyve been thinking about self harm can be damaging, but thats not the case, according to Gordon.
If they confirm your suspicions, its helpful to guide them towards calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 ir text the Crisis Text Line. Text "SOS" to 741741.You can even reach out yourself to receive guidance and tips for how to help others.
What do you do when a loved one has passed in the midst of this pandemic?
For many, the pain of a death is only compounded by the inability to grieve with others because of the pandemic.
In these times, Gordon says its especially important to seek help among your community, support systems and trusted professionals.
Depression is something you want to deal with right away, he said.
He said to consider what others have already done and hold a virtual wake for those who have passed. This could also be a time to join or begin organizing a community-wide ceremony in honor of those who have passed, when it is safe enough.
We can anticipate that this will end, without knowing when, Gordon said.
How do you deal with the disturbing information coming in?
As many of us remain glued to our devices, watching the stream of terrible news and images come through, Gordon recommends some ways to maintain good mental health.
Focus on facts so youre not getting carried away by rumor and opinion, he said.
He also suggests we take a break from those images by turning off the news an hour before sleep, focusing on meditation, spending time with loved ones or reading from a physical book.
Besides avoiding the news when it gets too much to bear, Gordon also recommends reframing the images we see. The pictures of hospital workers show commendable heroism, and all the disturbing images of people wearing masks show how diligent the world has become in taking care of each other.
Just that act of cognitively reframing the image in a positive way can be helpful. Gordon said.
How do you help kids during the pandemic?
Children are also deeply affected by the abrupt and scary changes in their lives.
Gordon says the most important thing to do right now is find out whats going on in their heads.
Dont assume that what youre worried about is what your kids are worried about, he said.
That way, it becomes easier to address their concerns.
For young children, its especially important to maintain structure since a lot of their lives are already disrupted.
Maintaining regular eating habits (breakfast, lunch and dinner), finding time for recreation together and making sure they stay on track with school work, lets kids know that things have changed, but things are okay.
If you are having thoughts of suicide,
go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources
call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-8255 or Text "SOS" to 741741
Pandemics can be
stressful - CDC
Take care of your mental health
You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
Get immediate help in a crisis
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations
How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
Take care of yourself and your community
Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with care for yourself. Helping others cope with their stress, such as by providing social support, can also make your community stronger. During times of increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health. Phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely, or isolated.
Healthy ways to cope with stress
Know the facts to help reduce stress
Knowing the facts about COVID-19 and stopping the spread of rumors can help reduce stress and stigma. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can help you connect with others and make an outbreak less stressful.
Take care of your mental health
Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices during an emergency.
People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable in an emergency. Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a persons thinking, feeling, mood or behavior in a way that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day. These conditions may be situational (short-term) or long-lasting (chronic). People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. If you think you have new or worse symptoms, call your healthcare provider.
Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. Free and confidential resources can also help you or a loved one connect with a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
Get immediate help in a crisis
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health
Different life experiences affect a persons risk for suicide. For example, suicide risk is higher among people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence. Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and other emotional or financial stresses are known to raise the risk for suicide. People may be more likely to experience these feelings during a crisis like a pandemic.
However, there are ways to protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. For example, support from family and community, or feeling connected, and having access to in-person or virtual counseling or therapy can help with suicidal thoughts and behavior, particularly during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about CDCs work in suicide prevention.
Recovering from COVID-19 or ending home isolation
It can be stressful to be separated from others if you have or were exposed to COVID-19. Each person ending a period of home isolation may feel differently about it.
Emotional reactions may include:
Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has COVID-19, even if they are now better and able to be around others again.
For Families and Children
For People at Higher Risk for Serious Illness
For Healthcare Workers and First Responders
For Other Workers
Dobson: Right now, being worried and anxious is perfectly understandable. We can break down whats happening by looking at the psychology of anxiety. There are three big predictors of how stressful something is going to be: (1) how predictable it is, (2) how much we can control it, and (3) how important it is to us.
With COVID-19, weve got a situation that checks all three boxes. Theres a lot we dont know, we have relatively weak controls (e.g., hand washing, physical distancing), and its really important ? even lethal in the worst case. So we shouldnt be surprised at our heightened reaction.
Mercer: While any change to our regular day or routine can affect our mental health, this situation is doubly challenging because news of the pandemic is virtually inescapable, and theres no clear end date. Its all over the television and social media.
If were used to feeling pretty good, the fear of What if I get sick? can shake up our confidence. On the other hand, if we already experience less than optimal health, the current climate can ratchet up pre-existing anxiety or stress.
How can I monitor my mental health? Whats healthy in this situation, and whats concerning?
Dobson: The Mental Health Commission of Canada has a great resource inside The Working Mind COVID-19 Self-Care and Resilience Guide, called the mental health continuum model. Its a simple tool that presents a series of emotional, cognitive, behavioural, physical, and substance use indicators. These indicators can be used to measure positive-through-deteriorating-to-poor mental health, and changes in personal functioning. Colour-coded as green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured) and red (ill), the indicators are paired with their corresponding colours to help you understand when it might be time to ask for help.
Mercer: Everyone is different, and everyone will react differently. So, what you need to understand isnt whats normal but rather whats healthy for you. As were being asked to constantly monitor our physical health (are we coughing? is that a sore throat? do we have a fever?) its easy to overlook our mental health. But in fact, its more important now than ever. Keep an eye on how youre feeling or what might trigger negative responses. If news and social media are causing you to believe that everyone else is juggling competing demands better than you are, shut down the computer. If the news cycle is causing your stomach to clench, turn it off. If your kids are resisting a rigid routine, focus on manners and kindness, and forget the mess.
Dont try to fix everything right now. Pick one thing that isnt sitting well with you and focus on that.
How I can cope with the stress and anxiety Im experiencing because of the pandemic?
Dobson: Negative thoughts, such as predictions, worries, or even catastrophic thinking, are normal when we feel anxious. The key is addressing them properly, and there are three basic strategies.
First, ask yourself if your negative thought is realistic. To bring your thinking more in line with the facts, seek out information from a reliable source. Of course, if the situation is unknown, searching for answers isnt a good use of your energy. Sometimes, recognizing that only time will tell is the hardest but most effective strategy.
Second, see if you can challenge your negative thought with a healthier alternative. For example, instead of saying This is awful, try This is a challenge, but Ive overcome lots of challenges in my life before. Just make sure you dont replace negative thoughts with unrealistically positive ones.
Third, try to use gentle, more compassionate language with yourself. In other words, talk to yourself like youd talk to a friend. Be aware of your negative thinking, but dont beat yourself up if you dont conquer it every time. Consider saying to yourself, Theres that horrible thought again. Oh well, its reminding me to be concerned. Im still going for my walk to take care of myself.
Sometimes, turning our thoughts to others is the best remedy. Humans are social animals, and we all need contact and support. Send a few Hi, I was thinking about you texts or emails. You might just find yourself feeling better as a result.
Mercer: Some anxiety is healthy. If it motivates us to be diligent about washing our hands, for example, then its doing its job. But if your anxiety is so intense that it prevents you from getting out of bed because youre worried you wont be able to wash your hands enough, the balance has obviously tilted toward unhealthy.
Right now, theres no shortage of information telling us what to do. Often it includes things like, make a routine, go to bed and get up at a regular time, get dressed as if you were going to work, keep your kids on a schedule, cook healthy foods, eat well, and get exercise. If youre trying to do all these things to allay your anxiety, it might have the opposite effect. Quite frankly, the thought of doing all those things makes me want to go back to bed.
So weve circled back to knowing ourselves and being forgiving of our imperfect efforts. If two hours of social media leaves you feeling depleted and afraid, consume less. Too much of anything is unhealthy. Take what you need to know and leave the rest.
Exercise helps anxiety. But gyms are closed, and some of us arent supposed to go outside. Our regular energy level may be lower just from adapting to a drastically new routine. Exercise doesnt have to be running for an hour or a robust workout. Turn up the music and dance around the room. Go for a walk with your kids if you can. A gentle online stretching course can do a world of good. This is going to be a mental marathon, so we have to be kind to both our bodies and our minds.
As for healthy eating, heres another place to try and do your best. But your best right now may not be a veggie tray. And thats OK. If that bag of chips is calling your name, and you want to stress-eat the whole thing, try for half. This wisdom isnt conventional, perhaps, but its honest. Do what you can. Take the small wins. And remember, if youre generally doing less, you also need to eat less to match your activity level.
I feel anxious about catching the virus or transmitting it to a loved one. What can I do?
Mercer: Take comfort that you arent alone. Everyone is feeling anxious about this. Our best tool is to employ the facts from a reliable source. What we can control are very basic but very important things. We should avoid touching our faces and wash our hands often and well ? as though those things are now part of our job. If youre in the fortunate position of being able to stay home, do that. Get groceries for the week, keeping essential outings to a minimum.
If you must go to work, educate yourself about your rights. Federal and provincial-territorial governments have clear guidelines for employers, so make sure your employer is following those. If you feel youre in a job where you might bring the virus home to your loved ones, talk about the steps you can all take to feel safe. Wash your hands and face, and change your clothes as you walk in the door. Work toward effective solutions that make everyone in the home feel more comfortable.
Dobson: If you must leave home for work but live with someone whos vulnerable ? ill, older, with an immune condition ? consider whether you have the means to change your living situation for a time. Can you move in with a co-worker, for example? If not, you may have to rely on very diligent at-home hygiene.
How do I balance washing my hands enough and not becoming obsessive about it?
Mercer: Theres no easy answer because were being told by experts to be excessive with hand washing. Again, it comes down to knowing yourself. If your hands are becoming raw and blistered, or you cant leave the sink without wanting to rush back, these are signs of obsessive behaviour. We know the ideal amount of time to hand wash is 20 seconds. Sing a short song. Watch the videos. It all comes back to educating yourself and following those guidelines.
Dobson: In addition to hand washing, try to think of ways to keep surfaces clean so you can be less focused on constantly washing your hands. Again, be mindful that youre not obsessively cleaning surfaces. You can put up a schedule, for example, so you can track how often youre doing each activity. It is not possible to contaminate yourself.
What if Im already living with an anxiety disorder? Media coverage can be especially triggering. How can I cope best?
Mercer: First, since routine is good, try to limit your news consumption to the essentials: maybe watch a reliable daily press conference or read a public health bulletin. It can feel like we might miss out on an important announcement, but if were isolating in our home with our families, its likely sufficient to check for updates once or twice a day.
In terms of managing existing anxiety, the most important thing is to maintain the social supports you usually rely on, while respecting the constraints of physical distance. Call, video chat, email, text. If you are in counselling, keep it up. Virtual therapy is becoming more readily available by the day. Skip social media and check for online supports and programs from reputable sites. If youre starting to feel really overwhelmed, or concerned for your own safety, call your local crisis line.
Dobson: Remember, the actual amount of news ? in that its new, relevant, and important ? is limited on any given day. Consider watching at around noon, when most of the information from the last 24 hours will be gathered in one place. Avoid listening to the news in the evening, and put your phone away if youre scrolling incessantly for updates before bedtime. It will set your mind abuzz and may cause you to lose sleep ? and we all cope less well when were exhausted.
How do I offer emotional support to friends, family members, or co-workers who have been quarantined?
Dobson: There are some innovative ways to use technology. Try a virtual dance party or games with someone who is in another location.
Mercer: Practical support for friends and neighbours is likely best: if you can drop off food, check their mail, pop some reading material on their porch. When checking on others dont forget to check in with yourself. The responsibility of caring for others can become draining. Try to share it if you can. If you cant provide on-site support, consider email, texts, cards, calls, and movie suggestions. All these small gestures can add up to big-time connection.
Which is making people more anxious: the virus or the hysteria in the media?
Mercer: The anxiety is driven by both. This is something weve not experienced before, so we have the fear fuelled by our imagination, the fear we hear expressed by family, friends, and on social media. Its important to stick to the facts, not reach too far into the future, and look at the concrete supports the government is providing. Get clear direction from schools and employers so you understand your obligations. If you can, talk to people in your home about your anxiety, in lieu of turning to websites and the media to seek answers. If you feel compelled to turn to the media, limit yourself to reliable sources.
Dobson: Its really both factors. The risk of illness is anxiety provoking, but the media coverage doesnt help. If you feel your anxiety ramping up after binge watching news on television or your smartphone, consider getting your information from more static sources ? like the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization. These sites are free of the added sights and sounds that can produce heightened anxiety.
How do I talk to my children about the coronavirus without making them anxious?
Mercer: Children are perceptive, and theyre sensitive to anxiety. Dont make things up, and dont pretend the situation outside their four walls isnt real. There are some excellent resources on how to frame conversations in an age-appropriate manner. Consider telling your kids that they are helpers and that their role is important for keeping themselves and everyone safe. Again, dont make things up. Stick to simple, relatable language.
Take your cues from them, and talk about it as much, or as little, as they want to. Be sure to balance weightier conversations with levity: watch a happy movie or take a short walk after a difficult conversation. Kids often have short attention spans, and sometimes distraction is the best medicine. If they cant see their grandparents, help them write letters, make cards, or use FaceTime.
Most of all, let them know that youre OK and that your number one job is to keep them safe. Its OK to acknowledge that even parents dont have all the answers but that youre taking advice from people who know the most (like health-care experts).
Dobson: Talk to them at a level
they can understand. If they arent old enough or
cant or wont verbally express their anxiety,
watch for signs of distress: being overly clingy, being
oppositional, crying unpredictably, or even pulling away,
avoiding, or becoming quiet. In short, look for changes in
their healthy behaviour. Again, the mental health continuum
Working Mind COVID-19 Self-Care and Resilience
Guide can help identify the
signs and signals that your child may be having mental
health problems. So consider using it with children,
your mental health - Mayo Clinic
The COVID-19 pandemic has likely brought many changes to how you live your life, and with it uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures and social isolation. You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumors and misinformation can make your life feel out of control and make it unclear what to do.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.
Learn self-care strategies and get the care you need to help you cope.
Self-care strategies are good for your mental and physical health and can help you take charge of your life. Take care of your body and your mind and connect with others to benefit your mental health.
Take care of your body
Be mindful about your physical health:
Get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day. Stick close to your typical schedule, even if you're staying at home.
Participate in regular physical activity. Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Find an activity that includes movement, such as dance or exercise apps. Get outside in an area that makes it easy to maintain distance from people as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) or your government such as a nature trail or your own backyard.
Eat healthy. Choose a well-balanced diet. Avoid loading up on junk food and refined sugar. Limit caffeine as it can aggravate stress and anxiety.
Avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. If you smoke tobacco or if you vape, you're already at higher risk of lung disease. Because COVID-19 affects the lungs, your risk increases even more. Using alcohol to try to cope can make matters worse and reduce your coping skills. Avoid taking drugs to cope, unless your doctor prescribed medications for you.
Limit screen time. Turn off electronic devices for some time each day, including 30 minutes before bedtime. Make a conscious effort to spend less time in front of a screen television, tablet, computer and phone.
Relax and recharge. Set aside time for yourself. Even a few minutes of quiet time can be refreshing and help to quiet your mind and reduce anxiety. Many people benefit from practices such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga or meditation. Soak in a bubble bath, listen to music, or read or listen to a book whatever helps you relax. Select a technique that works for you and practice it regularly.
Take care of your mind
Reduce stress triggers:
Keep your regular routine. Maintaining a regular schedule is important to your mental health. In addition to sticking to a regular bedtime routine, keep consistent times for meals, bathing and getting dressed, work or study schedules, and exercise. Also set aside time for activities you enjoy. This predictability can make you feel more in control.
Limit exposure to news media. Constant news about COVID-19 from all types of media can heighten fears about the disease. Limit social media that may expose you to rumors and false information. Also limit reading, hearing or watching other news, but keep up to date on national and local recommendations. Look for reliable sources such as the CDC and WHO.
Stay busy. A distraction can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression. Enjoy hobbies that you can do at home, identify a new project or clean out that closet you promised you'd get to. Doing something positive to manage anxiety is a healthy coping strategy.
Focus on positive thoughts. Choose to focus on the positive things in your life, instead of dwelling on how bad you feel. Consider starting each day by listing things you are thankful for. Maintain a sense of hope, work to accept changes as they occur and try to keep problems in perspective.
Use your moral compass or spiritual life for support. If you draw strength from a belief system, it can bring you comfort during difficult times.
Set priorities. Don't become overwhelmed by creating a life-changing list of things to achieve while you're home. Set reasonable goals each day and outline steps you can take to reach those goals. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. And recognize that some days will be better than others.
Connect with others
Build support and strengthen relationships:
Make connections. If you need to stay at home and distance yourself from others, avoid social isolation. Find time each day to make virtual connections by email, texts, phone, or FaceTime or similar apps. If you're working remotely from home, ask your co-workers how they're doing and share coping tips. Enjoy virtual socializing and talking to those in your home.
Do something for others. Find purpose in helping the people around you. For example, email, text or call to check on your friends, family members and neighbors especially those who are elderly. If you know someone who can't get out, ask if there's something needed, such as groceries or a prescription picked up, for instance. But be sure to follow CDC, WHO and your government recommendations on social distancing and group meetings.
Support a family member or friend. If a family member or friend needs to be isolated for safety reasons or gets sick and needs to be quarantined at home or in the hospital, come up with ways to stay in contact. This could be through electronic devices or the telephone or by sending a note to brighten the day, for example.
Recognizing what's typical and what's not
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. Everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, and it's normal to feel stress and worry during a crisis. But multiple challenges daily, such as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, can push you beyond your ability to cope.
Many people may have mental health concerns, such as symptoms of anxiety and depression during this time. And feelings may change over time.
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling helpless, sad, angry, irritable, hopeless, anxious or afraid. You may have trouble concentrating on typical tasks, changes in appetite, body aches and pains, or difficulty sleeping or you may struggle to face routine chores.
When these signs and symptoms last for several days in a row, make you miserable and cause problems in your daily life so that you find it hard to carry out normal responsibilities, it's time to ask for help.
Get help when you need it
Hoping mental health problems such as anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms. If you have concerns or if you experience worsening of mental health symptoms, ask for help when you need it, and be upfront about how you're doing. To get help you may want to:
If you're feeling suicidal or thinking of hurting yourself, seek help. Contact your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Or call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
Continue your self-care strategies
You can expect your current strong feelings to fade when the pandemic is over, but stress won't disappear from your life when the health crisis of COVID-19 ends. Continue these self-care practices to take care of your mental health and increase your ability to cope with life's ongoing challenges.
mental health during the coronavirus pandemic - John
The new reality of social distancing and other safety measures is testing everyone, and those living with mental illness may find this time even more challenging if the support system they rely on is not in place.
Experts from the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health put together these tips and resources on how to protect your mental health during these trying times.
As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded across the U.S., ordinary life has been put on pause. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, school closings, work closings, and social distancing have created a level of social isolation previously unseen across the globe. Fears about finances and food shortages have placed additional stressors on an already anxious and sensitized population. The practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are necessary and designed to protect the community, particularly the most vulnerable individuals. However, this pandemic and the associated changes, including serious financial implications for many households, can have profound consequences for our mental health.
Traumatic or stressful experiences put individuals at greater risk for not only poor physical health but poor mental health outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. You may notice that yourself or others around you are more edgy, irritable, or angry; helpless; nervous or anxious; hopeless, sad, or depressed. Sleep may be disrupted and less refreshing. Practicing social distancing may leave you feeling lonely or isolated. If you are at home with children, you may have less patience than before.
Those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19older individuals and people with medical comorbidities or immune-comprised systemswho need to be especially stringent in following guidelines from the health authorities, may be the very people whose mental health may suffer the most. Individuals with a pre-existing mental health condition, such as an anxiety disorder, are also at heightened risk for poor mental health outcomes as a result of coronavirus.
It is important that as a population, we learn how to protect our mental health during this stressful and ever-changing situation, while also following the guidelines set by health authorities to protect our physical health. Here are some strategies that can be used during these challenging times to protect your and others mental health.
Maintain your physical health
Support--and create--your community
Create a virtual support group and check in with those around you. There are many options for connecting, including video conferencing software, such as Google Hangouts and Facetime. During this time of isolation, connecting face-to-face (online) is more important than ever. If you cant stream, then calling and texting is important. Check out some ideas at Wirecutter and Prokit for how to be social during the quarantine.
Crises offer a time for community cohesion and social solidarity, and volunteering is one way to not only help others, but yourself as well. Science has repeatedly shown that volunteering can improve mental health. Check out this article for a list of organizations to donate to and this article for other ways to help your neighbors and community.
If you have children, talk to them honestly about what is going on in an age-appropriate manner. Help kids express their feelings in a positive way, whether playing in the backyard, drawing, or journaling. Check out these guides by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Child Mind Institute, or National Association of School Psychologists for tips on how to talk to your kids about coronavirus.
Take care of your spirit
Continue or seek out mental health treatment
Remember that the emotions you may be experiencing are normal reactions to difficult circumstances. Accept that things are different right now and everyone is adjusting. Prioritize whats most important and know that its okay to let some things go right now.
Be kind to yourself and others. Try to stay positive and use this time to spend more time with your children or spouse, try things youve been putting off, such as taking an online class, learning a new skill, or getting in touch with your creative side.
It can be hard to think past what is going on today, let alone in a week or in six months, but give yourself permission to daydream about the future and what is on the horizon. Remember that this is temporary, and things will return to normal.