COVID-19: Caring for Your Mental Health During This Unprecedented Crisis

MHA of Essex-Morris and NewBridge Services Offer Assistance

As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to climb and with workplaces and schools closed, anxiety is on the rise. It is important during this time, to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week, “we have to find some peace” in dealing with this situation for an extended time.

For those who are struggling, you can find assistance online site or by phone. For example, NJ Mental Health Cares, the state’s behavioral health information and referral service, has set up a helpline for people dealing with anxiety and worry.

Morris County residents can call 866-202-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support.  NJ Mental Health Cares will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week by live trained specialists.

Also, you can Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services or SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris has compiled a list of tips and resources to assist individuals and families with self-care.

Ways to Cope

  • Connect with family and friends by phone, e-mail, or social media.
  • Partake in activities that are soothing: take a warm bath; practice deep breathing; cook comfort foods.
  • Distract yourself by doing activities that keep you busy: gardening; doing art work. Listen to music and watch comedy movies that will make you laugh and lighten your mood.
  • Limit your news and media intake.
  • Go out in the fresh air and take a walk. Walking is one of the best exercises to help mitigate anxiety.
  • Keep a schedule and stay as close to your typical routine as possible. This will help you to have a sense of control and bring some normalcy to your day.
  • Remember that THIS WILL COME TO AN END as every other pandemic that has ever happened in history has and that your lives will return again to normal.

Mental Health and COVID-19 Resources

  1. Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus
  2. Mental Health Resources
  3. Online Recovery Meetings
  4. Resources for Arts & Entertainment
  5. Educational Resources
  6. Resources for Health & Wellness
  7. Faith Based Resources

Also, NewBridge Services is offering some excellent advice on dealing with the situation. Visit them online  to get help on how not to panic during this crisis. Some tips from NewBridge:

How Not To Panic

  • Take deep calming belly breaths and exhale slowly for a minute
  • Limit your exposure to graphic news stories 
  • Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources 
  • Maintain your normal routine as much as possible 
  • Eat well and rest 
  • Stay active both physically and mentally 
  • Stay in touch with family and friends 
  • Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs
  • Keep a sense of humor 
  • Share your concerns with others 
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

COVID-19 And Mental Illness, NAMI Releases Important Information

From NAMI:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, released a guide to answer frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones.  Read the guide!

“We recognize that people living with mental illness face additional challenges dealing with COVID-19, as do their caregivers and loved ones,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. “That’s why we are releasing an information and resource guide with FAQs on a variety of topics from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing healthcare and medications. NAMI is here to help.”

For more updates on mental illness and COVID-19, visit NAMI’s regularly updated webpage.