health is an important part of overall health and well-being. It
includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we
think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to
others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of
life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
During times of
emergency, however, and as information about Coronavirus unfolds, there can be
a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions that may negatively affect
your mental health.
Please recognize that
there can be a wide range of reactions and that over the next few days or weeks
you may experience periods of:
- Anxiety, worry, panic
- Feelings of helplessness
- Social Withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance to your health and body
confirmed or suspected COVID-19 may experience fear of the consequences of
infection with a potentially fatal new virus, and those in quarantine might
experience boredom, loneliness, and anger. Furthermore, symptoms of the
infection, such as fever, hypoxia, and cough, could lead to worsening anxiety
and mental distress.
which is part of the public health responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, could
increase patients' anxiety and guilt about the effects of contagion, quarantine,
and stigma on their families and friends. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights tips for taking care of your behaviorial health during an infectious disease outbreak here.
especially those working in hospitals caring for people with confirmed or
suspected COVID-19, are vulnerable to both high risk of infection and mental
health problems. They may also experience fear of contagion and spreading the
virus to their families, friends, or colleagues.
Ways to Manage Fears & Anxieties
Coronavirus is a health issue that is being taken very seriously public health
authorities worldwide, do not let your worry about this virus control your
life. There are many simple and effective ways to manage your fears and
anxieties, including these tips from SAMHSA. Many of them are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle;
adopting them can help improve your overall emotional and physical well-being.
- Get the facts. Stay
informed with the latest health advisories through our Middlesex County LINCS program, and see the CDC website. If you have questions, call the state's dedicated public call line at 800-222-1222.
- Keep things in
perspective. Limit worry and
agitation by lessening the time you spend watching or listening to upsetting
media coverage. Although you'll want to
keep informed, remember to take a break from watching the news and focus on the
things that are positive in your life and things you have control over.
- Be mindful of
your assumptions about others. Someone
who has a cough or a fever does not necessarily have coronavirus.
Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.
- Stay healthy. Adopting healthy hygienic habits such as washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, frequently,
and certainly after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick
person. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid
contact with others who are sick and stay home while sick.
connected. Maintaining social
networks can help maintain a sense of normalcy and provide valuable outlets for
sharing feelings and relieving stress.
- Don't forget about kids. Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. For more tips on how to help chidren cope with stress, visit the CDC's page about managing stress and anxiety.
additional help. Individuals
who feel an overwhelming worry or anxiety can seek additional professional
mental health support. The NJ Department of Human Services operates toll free “warm lines” which are a resource for people seeking mental health service. A warm line is activated during events that impact the mental health of New Jersey residents. The warm lines are available 24 hours and have language access; (866) 202-HELP (4357), (877) 294-HELP (4357), TTY (877) 294-4356 NOTE: The “warm lines” do not replace 911 and is not used to report emergencies.