COVID-19 and Mental Health Tips to Know

May 15, 2020

The uncertainty of COVID-19 brings about a vulnerable time for everyone but especially for those with mental illness. It’s important to know that 1 in 5 adults in the US experience a mental illness in any given year. For those with anxiety and/or depression, this time can be even more challenging. The social work team at the Weinberg Family CP Center is here for you. They share some general “tips” on coping with social distancing:

  1. Keep a routine. Maintain normative sleep patterns. Try to get in bed/wake up at the times you would if you were going to work. People thrive in routine/structure. Try to keep that as stable as possible.
  2. Spending time with friends/family from afar. Social distancing does not mean being antisocial. Take this time to catch up with others and check in with people in your inner circle whether it be a phone call, text, virtual hangout, or email. You can also watch a movie or show and watch it at the same time or even have a virtual game night!
  3. Take advantage of your free time. Is there a project you’ve been putting off? A desire to complete a puzzle? Listen to a podcast? or read that book you’ve always wanted to read but didn’t seem to have free time? Find something that you’ve been wanting to do and take advantage of this time inside.
  4. Try to relax. Make a calming playlist, journal, or practice meditation/yoga methods that can help relax your mind and body to get you through this stressful time.
  5. Support the greater good. If you can’t find something that is fulfilling to you and your time, focus on helping the community. Seek those in need; elders, kids who are out of school totally, people with low immune systems etc. and see how you can help. Maybe you can’t physically go food shopping for them, but maybe you can find someone who can. Use your feelings of isolation/boredom to fuel support for the greater good.
  6. Talk to a therapist. Having a professional that can help you with your anxiety and depression is so important, especially during this stressful time. Virtual therapy can be such a powerful tool and during this isolating time, your mental health needs to be a top priority. A therapist can help you and your mental health in numerous ways whether you know you need therapy or not.
Women in wheelchair smiling with hands in air

For those with anxiety: try to limit the amount of news coverage you watch. It can become all-consuming. Rather, make sure you’re watching coverage by medical experts- not necessarily the politically-motivated media and not all day, every day.

For those with depression: this is a unique time, especially with social distancing it can exacerbate symptoms. At this time, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Journal your mood/feelings and accept help from others. Crises can often too bring out the best in people- accept support. It’s helpful to some to remember that you are not alone during this time- we are all affected and sometimes that “mantra” can help counter the feelings of isolation.

If you would like to talk with a mental health professional please call 212-305-5616.

If you would like to talk with someone for supportive counseling, advocacy, or if you have any barriers to coordinating care during this time, please call 212-305-2700.