From the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network:
When it comes to what is happening with COVID-19/novel coronavirus, a lot is changing in our state, our country, and all over the world. These times can seem confusing and full of uncertainty. Most of us are concerned about our health as well as that of our families and communities. The information available from the news, social media, and other outlets can seem overwhelming and lead to increased feelings of anxiety. For those already dealing with mental health struggles, increases in social isolation can be problematic. And many are facing economic impacts as a result of all the change. All of this can lead to a negative impact on our mental health. While we do not have control over everything that is happening in our lives right now, there are some things we can do to protect our mental health and well-being.
Here are some recommendations from TSPN:
- Know some warning signs that your mental health may be impacted.
Pay attention to what’s going on for you emotionally. You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless or sad. You might notice that you are more irritable. Some people become avoidant of any news or reminders about what is happening. You may even find it harder to concentrate, find motivation, or do the things you normally do day-to-day. If you already struggle with mental health, you may notice an increase in your typical symptoms. Really any major change in your personality or behaviors could be a sign that your mental health is suffering.
- Reach out for help and use the services available to you.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone if you are having a hard time. It’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support and can be comforting to share your worries and thoughts with someone who will listen without judgement. This part may seem hard right now given the current circumstances, but no matter what avenue you chose, help is available to you. Many providers are offering service through a variety of ways. If face-to-face counseling is not available or an option, many providers are offering help through video chat. If this is not an option for you, there are options to connect with license mental health professionals through chat or smartphone apps.
Help is available 24/7 through the following resources:
State Crisis Line: 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471)
National Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273- 8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text TN to 741 741
Also, help is available through your local mobile crisis line, who can direct you how to proceed if you need to be seen in-person. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need your local contact number.
- Stay connected to the people in your life.
Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from the world. Reach out to a friend or loved one to talk about your thoughts and feelings. Stay in contact with the people in your life through phone calls, video chat, or even playing online games together. You can even schedule times to get together and share a cup of coffee or a meal over video chat. If there is someone in your life who you are worried about, we encourage you to reach out to them and check in. Consider anyone you know who is jobless or facing an economic impact, elderly individuals or those at higher risk of infection due to other health issues, new parents, children, or anyone who may have increase worries during this time.
- Figure out what works for you and your mental health.
It can be important to know what is helping your mental health and what is impacting it negatively. For some of us, this may mean limiting our social media usage or media overload on the topic. Others feel better when they have information. It can be important to make sure you are getting your information from reputable sources such as the CDC or TN Department of Health. Did you know that even with recommended social distancing measures, you can still go outside? It can be great for physical and mental health to spend time outdoors and in nature. You can go for a walk, run, or jog. Exercise can do wonders for your mind as well as your body. Also, if you find yourself with more downtime, it might be a great time to get going on some of those projects you’ve been saving for a rainy day. Do a puzzle, your spring cleaning, or whatever you’ve been putting off.
Please take care of yourself during this time. If you are concerned about someone you know, reach out to them. Despite all of the change, we are in this together.