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.
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:
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:
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.
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
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:
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:
KEEP LOVED ONES SAFE
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