Outbreaks of infectious diseases can be a stressful time. With additional concerns about the economic impact of the pandemic, many may feel overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, or worry.
May is Mental Health Month and County officials are encouraging you to monitor your mental well-being and that of your loved ones. They’re also offering tips on how to mentally cope with pandemics.
Common signs of distress may include:
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety, or fear
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Anger or short temper
Luke Bergmann, director of County Behavioral Health Services, said it’s important to keenly observe your mental and emotional wellbeing and to find ways to safely stay connected to your friends and family. Be aware of the signs of stress and know when to seek help for yourself, and those you care about.
“While COVID-19 is impacting communities in different ways and to different extents, it is traumatic for all of us. We all need one another, now maybe more than ever, to get through difficult times,” Bergmann said. “Find ways to stay connected. Call or video chat with friends and family or a support line until it’s safe to do it in person.”
Here are other tips to maintain your mental health:
- Take care of your body by stretching, taking deep breaths, and meditating.
- Eat healthy and well-balanced meals.
- Exercise and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to unwind and engage in activities you love, if they’re allowed.
- Limit time spent watching, reading or listening to information about the pandemic, even on social media.
Mental Health Resources Available Year Round
Mental Health Month was established to raise awareness, educate communities and reduce stigma surrounding people experiencing mental illness.
The County Administration Center, located at 1600 Pacific Highway, will be lit lime green from May 11-15 to celebrate people in recovery and those who support them.
The County and its partners have created virtual events to commemorate the month, due to the restrictions on public gatherings. People can still come together to break the stigma and support mental health.
It’s important for residents to know that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health resources and support are still readily available through County Behavioral Health Services and its many service providers.
If you or someone you know need help or are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can talk to a trained counselor by calling the County’s 24-hour, multi-lingual Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Other resources are available on Behavioral Health Services’ COVID-19 Resources for Families, Parents & Caregivers webpage or the It’s Up to Us website.