Mental Health and Coping with COVID -19
The Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line provides 24/7 free and confidential assistance to callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emotional Support Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in Crisis Counseling.
Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources. People can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
- People who have preexisting mental health conditions including problems with substance use
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
Reactions during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones who may have been exposed to COVID-19
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/disaster-preparedness
Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends, and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help.
Call your healthcare provider if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row.
Things you can do to support yourself:
- Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
- Share the facts about COVID-19 and the actual risk to others. People who have returned from areas of ongoing spread more than 14 days ago and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not put others at risk.
Sharing accurate information can help calm fears in others and allow you to connect with them.
For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/coping.html
On-Line Resources from Mental Health America - Georgia
Mental Health America of Georgia has a wealth of resources on their website, from peer support lines, online 12- Step Meetings, parenting in a pandemic, food assistance delivery, financial assistance for families, applications for food stamps, unemployment benefits, eviction prevention, mortgage negotiations help. Use this link to access their website: MHA-Georgia