Mental Health & Wellness during COVID-19

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Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Managing your emotional and mental health

FlowerWhen you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease such as Coronavirus, you may feel anxious, isolated, and stressed—even when you are at low risk for getting sick. These signs of stress are normal. In the wake of an infectious disease outbreak, monitor your own physical and mental health. Sheltering in place in a crowded house can be a source of stress and anxiety. Know the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help.

Feelings of grief are also normal. Throughout our lives, we experience grief brought on by situations, relationships, losses, or canceled plans – and the COVID-19 pandemic can create grief on a number of levels. Different stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is important to know that these stages do not necessarily happen in order or sequence. Some people may not experience any of these. Others may only experience one or two stages rather than all five.

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Local Resources

Other Resources

  • Contact the National Disaster Distress Helpline (English and Spanish)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    • NAMI Sonoma County Support Line: 1 (866) 960-6264 (Monday-Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm PST)
    • For mental health resources, NAMI Hotline: 1 (800) 950-6264 (Monday-Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm EST)
  • Mental Health Association of San Francisco: 1 (855) 845-7415, (California peer-run warm line, 24/7)
  • 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 (808) 799-7233 or click Chat Now

Coping with stress and anxiety

  • heartTalk with people you trust. Contact your friends and family through social media, FaceTime, phone calls, or email. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing!
  • While staying at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible – including proper diet, sleep, and exercise. Create a routine and do your best to stick to it.
    • Use YouTube workouts or FaceTime/Skype/Zoom to create your own group workouts.
    • If you have the space, turn your living space into your workout area. If you have stairs, make a few extra trips up and down each day. If you’re working from home: lift weights, do squats and lunges, and stretch while sending emails and completing your other daily tasks.
    • If you don’t have space at home, take daily walks while keeping a safe distance from others who may be out walking.
  • Spend time outside each day. Stay healthy by breathing fresh air and going for a walk. The current health order allows for limited use of nearby parks for walking, running, jogging and hiking. More information about park access »
  • Don’t use smoking, alcohol, or other drugs to deal with your emotions.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker or counselor. Have a plan. Know where to go to and how to seek help for physical and mental health needs if required.
  • Get the facts. Gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust such as WHO website or, a local or state public health agency.
  • Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting.
  • Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous life’s adversities and use those skills to help you manage your emotions during the challenging time of this outbreak.

OrganizeResources for coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Helping children cope with stress and anxietyPlay

Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc.

  • Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.
  • Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention.
  • Remember to listen to your children, speak kindly, and reassure them.
  • If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.
  • Try and keep children close to their parents and family and avoid separating children and their caregivers to the extent possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalization) ensure regular contact (e.g. via phone) and reassurance.
  • Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.
  • Answer the questions they ask, and let this guide how much information you share.
  • Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now, and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age.
  • This also includes providing information about what could happen in a reassuring way (for example, explain that a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better)

TalkResources for mental and behavioral health organizations

Addiction and Recovery Resources

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