Mental Health in the time of Corona Virus: Intense feelings are to be expected – know when to seek help
From your Heart of Texas Region MHMR (For more posts in this series, click here: Mental Health in the Time of Corona Virus)
Natural disasters – including pandemics like the current Coronavirus outbreak – can seriously affect emotional health. Fear and anxiety about contracting a disease may feel overwhelming and may cause strong emotions in adults and children alike.
Intense Feelings Are Expected
Over the years the residents of the Heart of Texas Region have demonstrated remarkable resilience. Individuals, families, and communities impacted by the Coronavirus are taking proactive steps to adjust and adapt to the situation. The reaction to personal and financial stress created by the Coronavirus is different for each person. Though some may not need additional help, many may find themselves in need of extra support to help them cope with the changes to everyday living.
Talk About Feelings with Friends and Family
Talking about the way you feel, and taking care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and getting exercise can help to manage and alleviate stress.
Take Care of Each Other
Check-in with friends and family members to find out how they are doing. Feeling stressed, sad, or upset is a common reaction to life-changing events. Learn to recognize and pay attention to early warning signs of serious problems.
Know When to Seek Help
Depending on their situation, some people may develop depression, experience grief, and anger, turn to drugs and alcohol, and even contemplate suicide. The signs of serious problems include:
- Excessive worry.
- Frequent crying.
- An increase in irritability, anger, and frequent arguing.
- Wanting to be alone most of the time.
- Feeling anxious or fearful, overwhelmed by sadness, confused.
- Having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating and difficulty making decisions.
- Increased alcohol and/or substance use.
- Physical aches, pains, complaints.
If these signs and symptoms persist and interfere with daily functioning, it is important to seek help for yourself or a loved one.
During this time, the Heart of Texas Region MHMR will continue to provide services to our customers and the community.
The safety of our community and our customers remain our top priority. If you are experiencing emotional distress related to the COVID-19 emergency, or for any other help, please contact the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center 24/7 by phone or text at 1-866-752-3451
The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Helpline is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week and free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster. The Helpline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms.
“People who have been through a traumatic event can experience anxiety, worry or insomnia,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, Ph.D., who is the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and who is the head of SAMHSA. “People seeking emotional help during an ongoing disaster such as a pandemic can call 1-800-985-5990 or can text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 – and can find recovery and coping strategies.”
The Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling centers in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services. More on the Helpline is at http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/.