The importance of managing stress, anxiety, and other mental health implications has increased during COVID-19. This pandemic has caused millions of deaths worldwide, soaring unemployment rates, lost access to free or reduced school meal programs for students, and a spike in domestic violence cases. As a nation, we have been impacted by trauma due to feelings of isolation, anxiety, uncertainty, and consumer despair. “In a recent KFF poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.” (KFF 2020)
According to the CDC, common reactions to COVID-19 include:
- Feelings of social isolation
- Increased levels of distress if someone:
- Has pre-existing mental health conditions like depression or anxiety
- Lives in lower-income households
- Experiences stigma because of age, race, ethnicity, or disability
How our Community Has Been Affected
We’ve seen an increase in the need for our services since the onset of the pandemic. Prior to March, a third of our clients were categorized as low-income, and 24% were already actively seeking employment. As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of clients struggling with anxiety, stress, substance use, and other mental health issues. These community members have lost employment, health insurance coverage, and had work hours reduced. They and their loved ones are struggling to maintain their sobriety while dealing with the isolation and uncertainty. Parents are trying to cope with children and their home-schooling, many who find technology challenges adding to their stress. We need to listen and respond to those in need now more than ever.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety during Uncertain Times
For ways to help manage stress and anxiety, try some of the following suggestions:
- Take breaks from watching or reading about the news
- Reach out to loved ones
- Join a COVID-19 Virtual Adult Support Group
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat healthy, balanced meals
- Make time every day to exercise or go for a neighborhood walk
- Unwind by reading a book or watching your favorite tv show
To access helpful resources on managing stress and anxiety due to COVID-19, click here.
How Mental Health Professionals Can Offer Help
It is important to know that individuals experiencing problematic issues are not alone in their journey towards achieving optimal mental health. Outpatient clinics have clinicians who are dedicated to offering counseling, support, and resources to patients suffering from a range of mental health issues. Through specialized treatments for addictive and destructive behaviors, clinicians are able to help individuals with coping mechanisms to become mentally and emotionally healthy.
At Positive Directions, licensed clinicians offer one-on-one, couples, and family counseling sessions for treatments ranging from addiction and recovery, to anxiety and depression. The support provided helps patients express feelings, assess thoughts and beliefs, reflect on behavioral patterns, and work towards committing to a healthy lifestyle.
Learn more about counseling services offered at Positive Directions here.
“Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Coping with Stress” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
“The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use”