The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges that has affected most people’s lives. Many face financial and health uncertainty as well as changes to daily routines in order to stay safe during this global pandemic. This upheaval has profound effects on our emotional wellbeing, particularly for people with established mental health concerns prior to the virus outbreak. Potential effects on one’s mental health during this pandemic include stress, worry, anger, helplessness, sadness, decreased motivation, loneliness, grief, anxiety, sense of frustration, concentration difficulties, sleep disturbance, and increased substance use. If you are having emotional difficulties, below are some resources and tips for managing your mental health:
- Seek out a therapist. If you feel a professional mental health counselor is needed to help manage your feelings, you have telebehavioral health options. CAPS remains committed to supporting student wellbeing and resiliency, and we are available for teletherapy by phone. Students can call 434.395.2409 or email longwoodCAPS@longwood.edu to schedule an appointment.
- A good resource for searching a local therapist that can engage in telebehavioral health is Psychology Today. Their website, has a “Find a Therapist” search engine that can be helpful connecting you to a mental health counselor in your area.
- There is also an Emotional Support Help Line for COVID-19, which provides FREE access to specially trained mental health providers to support people experiencing anxiety or stress around COVID-19: 1-866-342-6892.
- Connect with others through digital technology. Even though we have to practice social distancing to keep you and your loved ones safe, this does not mean to disconnect from others. Take advantage of internet technology and stay connected with your family and friends through phone calls, texting, and video chats. Organize group chats around events (Netflix party) in order to stay connected with others and feel less isolated.
- Take breaks from social media, internet, and news outlets that talk about Covid-19. It is good to be informed, but obsessing over the information, specifically negative information, can increase your anxiety about Covid-19. If you do want to obtain information on news or mental health related to COVID-19, make sure it’s from evidence-based and reliable sources, like:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): https://www.nami.org/covid-19-guide
- American Psychological Association (APA): https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2020/03/covid-19-research-findings
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA): https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620.pdf
- Center for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
- Don’t forget the basics to good physical and mental health through exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. Being home and isolating yourself at home can cause you to break from healthy routines. Exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and getting 7-9 hours a sleep each night leads to good outcomes for physical and emotional health.
- Engage in meaningful activities with your time. Even though you are unable to engage in some of your past activities, such as going to the movies, you can still find meaningful activities with your time such as journaling, drawing/painting, learning a new skill (e.g. cooking, learning a new language), read or listen to a book, take an interesting online course, or meditate.
- Utilize CAPS’ online resources. Our team of licensed clinical psychologists and trainees have been working hard to create online content for you, which can be accessed through this blog. We plan to continue using this platform long after the pandemic ends, so you can find information specific to COVID-19, as well as general mental health resources.