Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need To Know & Mental Health Resources
Impacting now at least 180 countries around the world, we all remain in shock about the impact of a viral infection called Coronavirus (COVID-19). So, what is the Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that was first identified in China.
Is the Coronavirus contagious? Well, yes! It is contagious and includes symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
How does the virus spread?
The virus spreads from person to person through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread through infected surfaces or objects. You may be at greater risk if you have recently lived in or traveled to regions where there are current outbreaks or if you come into contact with someone who has the virus.
Here are the following recommendations by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) & the World Health Organization (WHO):
* Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds
* If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
* Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
* Avoid heavily public areas and touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
* Social DISTANCING: Stay about 6 feet (2 meters) away from any social contact.
* Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache or slightly runny nose Seek medical advice or care if you develop a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Resources for Mental Health & Maintaining A Positive Well-Being:
Social distancing, an important element to reduce Coronavirus spread, may challenge our mental health and well-being. Finding helpful and beneficial coping mechanisms and establishing a support system during such challenging circumstances has been increasingly important to maintaining good mental and emotional health.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with sadness, depression, anxiety and/or distress, contact a local licensed mental health professional or call the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. If you have thoughts of harming yourself and/or others call 911.
For many, personal and professional sacrifices have been made during this trying time, but it is increasingly important that we don’t also sacrifice our mental health and well-being.
Here are some helpful tips/practices to maintain a healthy mental and emotional state of mind and strengthen our interpersonal relationships:
1. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing (use of technology to our advantage via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, phone calls, social media outlets, etc). So take advantage & reach out to those that you love and care for just to support each other during these challenging times.
2. Create a schedule or clear routine for the day that is doable and not overwhelming. Make sure to incorporate time for yourself and your loved ones.
3. Exercise both the mind and body with at-home exercises (i.e. puzzles, yoga, crossword puzzles, explore a new and 'daring' recipe, etc.)
4. Set aside some alone time either outside or inside for mediation and relaxation.
5. Write down a list of activities that you really enjoy and try to find a way to incorporate it while social distancing. Take on a new hobby or do a hobby or activity you enjoy. Break open that book you have been dying to read, tackle that 1000 piece puzzle shoved in the corner, watch some YouTube how-to videos on knitting or download TikTok & practice a coordinated dance.
6. Self-care is essential. Continue skincare routines, bathing and grooming appropriately. A healthy body cultivates a healthy mind.
7. When you are feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed, don't forget to take deep breaths and refocus that energy on positive thoughts.
8. Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal & get plenty of sleep.
9. Being informed what is happening in the world is very important; however, it is also equally important to take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news stories & social media.
10. Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs, these all have been shown to decrease your immune response, making it difficult for your body to fight an infection.
Any additional questions, feel free to check out the CDC website or your local state and country health department website for further guidance.