The coronavirus is an extremely infectious disease. At its onset, most states in the U.S. implemented lockdown and stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus, confining people to their homes.
Though some restrictions have eased, controlling the transmission of the virus remains to be the number one goal. Social distancing measures are still in place to avoid overwhelming the country’s healthcare system and many people with health issues or vulnerable family members opt to stay at home. Physical health still takes priority as hospitals try to nurse COVID-19 patients back to health.
However, the coronavirus pandemic threatens more than one’s physical well-being. Being confined to one place for a prolonged period can have negative psychological effects, including stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and even depression.
Mental Health Impact of the Pandemic
The rise of a new contagious disease is stressful. People are terrified of the possibility of contracting the virus and what can happen if they do. And they grow more anxious each day as the pandemic continues with little to no signs of progress.
Because of the lockdown, the pandemic has led to a staggering unemployment rates in the country. Millions of Americans are worried about putting food on their tables and struggling to make ends meet without a stable source of income. This worry causes increased levels of anxiety.
Apart from the disease itself, physical distancing and quarantine measures can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation, impacting mental health.
Confinement is especially difficult for those who are already struggling with pre-existing mental health conditions. The sudden change in one’s routine can cause stress for people with mental health issues.
Plus, stay-at-home orders can make it difficult for them to access activities and things they normally rely on for comfort. Some people might take a walk in the park, go shopping, hit the gym, or visit their friends to feel better. But they can’t do these things at this time.
Additionally, lockdown measures make it difficult for mental health patients to seek the medical services and medication they need.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health during Lockdown
The World Health Organization (WHO) shares tips on protecting your mental health during the coronavirus quarantine.
First, if you have a mental health condition, make sure that you continue to take your prescribed medication and that you have a way of restocking your meds. Find out how you can keep in touch with your therapist or mental health specialist. Some private practices offer telehealth therapy services, so you can receive the support you need during these stressful times.
Stay in touch with people whom you can turn to for support if your mood or mental health declines, whether they’re your family, friends, or romantic partner.
For the general public, the WHO suggests minimizing the amount of news you consume to avoid overwhelming yourself. Get updates only at specific times of the day to keep yourself informed. Establish a daily routine. Go to bed at similar times each day and make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep. Eat healthy meals and try to sneak in some physical activity into your daily schedule.
Additionally, the WHO also suggests limiting your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and adverse treatment outcomes.
Lastly, take note of the following emergency hotlines for when you’re in a mental health crisis:
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Also, note the hotlines of mental health support services near your location.
Mental Health Support Services in Connecticut
The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health (CCBH) in Westport provides comprehensive, individualized mental health services. We provide telehealth therapy services so you can receive the support you need during the quarantine. Our psychotherapists are committed to helping you navigate your way through mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
Contact us via phone, email, or the online form to schedule an appointment.