The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been stressful for many people and communities. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions during and after a disaster. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. This page suggests ways to care for your mental health during these experiences and provides resources for more help.
Based on information from the CDC, SAMHSA, and NIMH.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing and/or self-isolation.
People may feel:
- Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your own health status
- Concern about effectively managing your life demands while choosing to isolate for your own safety and safety of others
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and from friends and family
- Stigmatized or singled-out
- Anger and frustration about having your movements in the world confined to one space.
- Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities
- Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation
- A desire to use unhealthful coping behaviors that interfere with normal sleeping, eating, and self-care behaviors such as excessive late nights, over-eating, and excessive use of substances.
- Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled.
- Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news.
- Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible.
- Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak.
- Get accurate health information from reputable sources. For health information about COVID-19, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov, your local healthcare provider, or your local 211 and 311 services, if available.
- The national Disaster Distress Helpline is available to anyone experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a caring counselor.
- If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or your local crisis line.
- For coping tools and resources, visit the Lifeline website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or Vibrant Emotional Health’s Safe Space at vibrant.org/safespace.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline has highly trained advocates available 24/7 to ensure services and continue to support survivors.
San Jacinto College offers free short term counseling and resource information to current San Jacinto College students. Also, students can access a free online mental health screening by clicking on http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/sanjacinto.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
Children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. (cdc.gov). Click here to find additional information on how to take to children regarding COVID-19 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html.