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Behavioral Health During COVID-19
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations but having a reaction is normal.
The emotional impact of COVID-19 depends on the person's characteristics and experiences, their social and economic circumstances, and the availability of resources. It is important to know that it is normal to feel sad, distress, worried, confused, scared, or angry.
If your stress, fear, anxiety, or other emotions are getting to be too much, Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare is here to help. They are currently providing telephone consultation, assessment, and therapy by phone and video conferencing. Call 757-547-9334 for help. If you or someone you know wants to harm themselves, call the 24/7 emergency crisis intervention line at 757-548-7000.
Common reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones
- Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs
- Feelings of helplessness, boredom, loneliness and depression due to being isolated
- Common symptoms of other health problems (e.g., a cough) can be mistaken for COVID-19 and lead to fear of being infected
- Some people may become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media. Some of these fears are realistic, but many reactions and behaviors are also fed by rumors and misinformation.
- Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties
- Other emotional or mental health changes
Things you can do for yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. Stay informed but avoid excessive exposure to media coverage.
- Periodically check the City's COVID-19 webpage for official information and links to official sources. Listen to recommendations from the Virginia Health Department.
- Maintain social distance, wash your hands, and stay in when you can.
- Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
Take care of your physical health. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid excessive alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Acknowledge and accept strong emotions. Feelings are just that, feelings. You choose what you do with them
- Routines reinforce control. Try as much as possible to stick to a daily routine or create new ones to get through this period.
- If possible, make opportunities to play and relax. Relaxation techniques may work for some people, others may find engaging in enjoyable hobbies or activities is effective.
- Social distancing doesn’t have to mean being disconnected. Connect with others in your social networks virtually through e-mail, phone calls or social media.
- Everyone has gone through difficult times. Look at the skills that you have used in the past during difficult times to manage your emotions during this outbreak. Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your life and things you can control. The more you perceive control over our life, the less you will feel anxious. Sometimes, even short distractions can help with situations beyond your control. Make sure you take time for yourself to recharge.
- If you have a behavioral health problem, seek help.
Things you can do for your loved ones:
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Most importantly, be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.