Is there anything new I can try to improve my mental health during the COVID-19 crisis?

Mental Health

A: Yes, there is and there is hope!

Let’s start with the facts. A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) noted that up to 45% of Americans reported that their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic. This appears to be more than the one in five Americans who are thought to struggle with mental health symptoms in any given year.

So perhaps the good news is that because we are all collectively experiencing this together, more and more resources are popping up every day. And for the nerdy girls, this also means we will be getting more data and hopefully more answers on what works/doesn’t work.

In the meantime, we have found several newer resources to support you and your loved ones.

1-Researchers in Israel have studied a scale rating how COVID-19 effects mental health. This tells us that our response can be measured and the scale can help us understand our symptoms, track our symptoms, and even reflect on our symptoms.

2-A range of free apps during the COVID-19 pandemic, including therapy and group apps. It seems like these multiply every time we check and that is good news!

3. 7 science based strategies to cope with coronavirus anxiety (great tips summarized here):

Tip 1: Practice tolerating uncertainty (For example: Don’t check the weather!)

Tip 2: Go face to face with anxiety (*Face your anxious thoughts when they come up – they make you feel worse without distraction, but eventually this gets better).

Tip 3: Figure out your why (*How do you want to spend your time on this earth? Deep, we know).

Tip 4: Remember that you are resilient (*We often forget that we have faced challenges before).

Tip 5: Don’t overestimate the threat (*We should follow guidelines, but remember that we can minimize how afraid we are of the risks by reducing our constant news feed and setting limits on news sources). We promise this one is not a shameless plug for the nerdy girls.

Tip 6: Self care! (*No this is not about pedicures. Simple things: sleep well, eat well, drink water, get outside, and exercise if you can).

Tip 7: Seek additional help if you need it (*There may be a point when these strategies are not enough. It is OK to need additional support).

4-The Life Kit segment on NPR, for those who might like to listen to audio. Segments on dating, how to talk to a friend who is struggling, and parenting tips delivered by Elmo and even Grover!

5-Learn the strategies of psychological first aid, developed specifically to train people to provide intervention strategies after disasters.

We are all in this together and figuring things out along the way. If you or your loved ones are in a crisis, you can always call 1-800-273-8255 or text “TALK” to 741741.

#BeTheDifference #SelfCareMay #InThisTogether #ShareNIMH

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