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DO 04 - Leg. Muratore - PR

Posted on: May 20, 2020

Legislator Tom Muratore Addresses the Concerns of Mental Wellness in Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

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For most of us, the past three months have been surreal amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Life as we once knew it changed dramatically. Something as simple as meeting a friend for coffee, or going grocery shopping without waiting in line to get inside was the norm. My, how quickly our habits have changed!

We’ve all heard the reasons why social distancing has been necessary, and what safeguards we can take to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. We adapted. We began wearing masks, keeping a distance of 6’ apart, and most importantly, staying home whenever possible.

Now that the medical experts know a little more about this virus, and the curve is starting to decline we have another big issue to address-the effects this pandemic has had on our mental health. I thought it would be worthwhile sharing some information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for coping with stress.

 

OUTBREAKS CAN BE STRESSFUL

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Find ways you and your family can reduce stress.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Financial concerns amidst loss of employment.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

EVERYBODY REACTS DIFFERENTLY TO STRESSFUL SITUATIONS

How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Children and teens.
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders.
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

WAYS TO COPE WITH STRESS                                                                                                                   Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Preparedness page. https://www.samhsa.gov/disaster-preparedness

FOR PEOPLE AT HIGHER RISK FOR SERIOUS ILLNESS

People at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults, and people with underlying health conditions are also at increased risk of stress due to COVID-19. Special considerations include:

  • Older adults and people with disabilities are at increased risk for having mental health concerns, such as depression.
  • Mental health problems can present as physical complaints (such as headaches or stomachaches) or cognitive problems (such as having trouble concentrating).
  • Doctors may be more likely to miss mental health concerns among:

CHECK IN WITH LOVED ONES OFTEN 

Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Consider connecting with loved ones by:

  • Telephone.
  • Email.
  • Mailing letters or cards.
  • Text messages.
  • Video chat.
  • Social media.

KEEP LOVED ONES SAFE

  • Know what medications your loved one is taking. Try to help them have a 4-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food (canned foods, dried beans, pasta) to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation and speak with facility administrators or staff over the phone. Ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

Take care of your own emotional health. Caring for a loved one can take an emotional toll, especially during an outbreak like COVID-19. There are ways to support yourself.

Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit family or friends who are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Use virtual communication to keep in touch to support your loved one and keep them safe.

If you are feeling the emotional and mental effects of Covid-19, you are not alone! Below are some LOCAL phone numbers you can call for help.

Suffolk County Helpline- simply dial 311

Family Service League’s DASH hotline 631-952-3333

Response of Suffolk County hotline 631-751-7500

NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Line 1-844-863-9314

LICADD Substance Abuse Hotline 631-979-1700


Remember, we are all in this together, and there is help available for those who need it! Be well!


Suffolk County Legislator TOM MURATORE

Fourth Legislative District

 

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