Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19

Contributed by Brandi Fitch

 

Many of us may feel like we are alone right now during the COVID-19 crisis. While social distancing is important during this difficult time, it can be hard to feel connected to the rest of the world. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone during this pandemic. Others are experiencing similar situations and feelings of anxiety and depression. It is ok to go through these feelings of not knowing what will happen next, but you don’t have to experience these feelings alone.

 

If you are feeling alone or anxious, here are some things you can do to keep occupied and manage your stress:

  • Take a break from watching TV or reading the news. Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can lead to more stress and anxiety.
  • Create and maintain a daily schedule to feel a sense of control and order
  • Write your feelings in a journal
  • Read a book
  • Take deep breaths, stretch, and practice meditation/yoga. A yoga session from WellSpan Health can be found here
  • Focus on the things in your life that you can control
  • Try to eat healthy, balanced meals. This can have a big impact on how you feel! Find more information at eatright.org.
  • Plant indoor plants or work in the garden
  • Do a puzzle
  • Call/Facetime with friends and loved ones
  • Check out Greater Good in Action from the University of California, Berkeley for research-based practices that can develop into healthy habits towards being happier in general
  • Listen to meditations, stories, and music talks through FREE apps, such as Calm.  Additional apps include:
  • Reach out to resources if you need someone to talk to

If you or someone you know is feeling extremely overwhelmed, stressed, or you want to harm yourself or others, the following options are available:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990, or TEXT TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
  • For the National Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741741
  • For the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (available 24/7), call 1-800-273-8255.
    • For the Veterans’ Crisis Line (available 24/7), call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or TEXT 838255

Local resources include:

  • Keystone Crisis Intervention, 24/7 at 717-264-2555 or 866-918-2555
  • Mental Health Association of Franklin and Fulton County Helpline at 717-264-2916
    • The MHA offers FREE Online QPR Training (Question, Persuade, Refer-three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide). Enter the code, “mhaff” as the organization code when prompted.
  • The Mental Health Support Line can be reached toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-2494.
  • WellSpan Health, 1-800-932-0359
  • Call WellSpan Philhaven’s Open Access phone line to be connected immediately to behavioral health resources, support and brief intervention at (717) 812-5405.
  • QPR VIRTUAL via ZOOM Training FREE by WellSpan Philhaven

May 7 at 6pm - Register here

May 12 at 9am - Register here

May 19 at 6pm - Register here

May 27 at 1pm - Register here

  • Healthy Communities Partnership’s Student Assistance Program is FREE and open for referrals anytime from anyone in the community

Any type of exercise or physical activity can help you manage your anxiety and immensely relieve stress. Building exercise into your daily schedule can have very positive effects on your overall mental health. Several ways that you can stay active and moving include:

* Please consult your doctor before engaging in any new physical activity

More information on how to cope with stress during this difficult time can be found from the CDC, PA Department of Health, or WellSpan Health.  Additional blog posts, podcasts, and tips for meditating can be found on the Coronavirus Sanity Guide.

Don’t forget to thank a mental health worker in May for Mental Health Awareness month! Visit healthyfranklincounty.org for more information.

Remember, you are not alone during this pandemic. There is always someone available in the community that you can talk to. Don’t be afraid to reach out; we will get through these difficult times together.