It’s Mental Health Month and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness of the importance of caring for our mental health and wellbeing.
If you’re someone who has lived with a mental health condition prior to COVID-19, now is the time to tap into the skills and resources you have been adding to your “tool box” up until this point. You know what has and hasn't worked for you in the past and have hopefully already identified resources that are helpful. We can recycle old skills and techniques – what worked at one time long ago may be helpful once again. Give yourself credit for all you have navigated up until this point - let that be a testament to your resiliency even if you don't feel particularly resilient at this time.
If this is one of the first times in your life you find yourself experiencing panic, anxiety, depression, or any other kind of emotional or behavioral discomfort - it's to be expected during this time. There are a wealth of resources to help you get through this. Every discomfort and challenge can be met with an “internal muscle” (coping skills and self-compassion) or an “external muscle” (outside resource) that can help.
While this isn’t meant to minimize what you are feeling now, it is important to remember that the coping skills you build on during this time will continue to serve you going forward. You are building resiliency even if it doesn’t feel like it. To even acknowledge, "I'm not ok", is a coping skill that takes practice.
Below are some helpful resources on common mental health disorders.
Disclaimer: None are meant to take the place of therapy with a licensed clinician.
One Immediate tool: MHA Guide to Two Quick Interventions When Experiencing Anxiety
One immediate tool: One way to try to stop the repeated negative thoughts and rumination that occur with depression is to get out of the current neural network our thoughts are stuck in. When we lack changes in environment and social interaction, it can be harder to try to "switch" that neural network path.
Create some cues. These could include:
- A list of things you can do when feeling depressed. Things like:
- Stepping outside
- Making a cup of tea
- Putting on a funny video or television show
- Smelling a candle or essential oil
- Positive reminder notes and messages placed around the house
- A short list of people you reach out to
Everything is Awful and I'm Not Okay: Questions to ask before giving up
(Disclaimer some suggestions may not be possible with physical distancing)
There is increased concern about suicide during this pandemic. Through these 5 steps learn how to #BeThe1To respond to someone who may be suicidal.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts:
One immediate tool: Call or webchat the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Call or text Hopeline (Based in NC): 919-231-4525 | 877-235-4525
Now Matters Now has short videos based in DBT to teach skills for coping with suicidal thoughts. This includes a short video on the Stress Model explaining one reason why people may experience suicidal thoughts.
Substance Use Disorders
Treatment programs and groups continue to run either in-person or virtually.
One Immediate Tool: From The Temper: 17 Ways to Stay Sober When You're Stuck at Home
Additional Mental Health Resources:
OCD and COVID-19 Resources
Continuing Eating Disorder Treatment During Physical Distancing
NAMI List of Online Support Groups
NAMI Guide on Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
Mental Health America Information on all Mental Health Conditions