As we welcome July and the summer weather, we’re reminded of how our lives have drastically changed in so many ways in a matter of a few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 40 million Americans have lost their jobs, food insecurity is a real concern for many, parents are homeschooling their kids, many business are struggling. The days of just spontaneously getting in your car and taking your kids to the movies or an amusement park are on hold. The lack of interaction and physical contact with your loved ones, friends, and colleagues due to social distancing may at times for many, be too much to manage.
Additionally, more than 134,000 Americans have tragically passed away due to the coronavirus and that is a stark and startling number. It’s hard to process and comprehend that in just a matter of three months many of our fellow citizens have passed way. Experts are estimating that 1 in every 7 Americans knows someone who has passed away as a result of COVID-19. If you have lost a loved one our friend as a result of this virus, please know that our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies are with you. And, even if you have not lost anyone to this virus, you’re still being inundated with information and stories splashed on the news about COVID that can be overwhelming to process, especially for individuals who may be navigating anxiety or depression.
The mental health and well-being of yourself and your family is incredibly important. There are a number of things that you can do to look after yourself, your family, and help others in your life who may need extra support and care right now.
• Stay Informed: Listen to advice and recommendations from your national, state, and local authorities and medical personnel.
• Minimize the News: Limit the intake of how much you watch or read. While the job of the news media is to keep the public informed, due to 24/7 cable news, you could find yourself glued to the television or computer watching stories on COVID. This can cause you to feel anxious or distressed, so limit your intake to.
• Stay in contact with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors: Just because we are all practicing social distancing, does not mean that you still can’t be social. Pick up the phone and call a friend, or FaceTime a loved one. It’s important to stay connected.
• Find Free, Safe Family-Friendly Activities: Design a scavenger hunt in your own home, watch a funny movie, try out a new recipe, plant some flowers, have a Zoom meeting or FaceTime your family members and friendly, and take a walk around your neighborhood.
• Make sure your children have time away from their computers, television, iPads, and cell phones: It’s important for children to have time to play outdoors, draw a picture, play with Legos and dolls, sing, dance, or build something. They need time, especially right now, to just have fun.
• Reach Out for Support: Here at PFSA, we are firm believers that where there is help, there is hope. So please, never be afraid to ask for help if you or a loved has a mental health concern or needs to talk to someone. There are trained, clinical therapists and counselors in your area who can help you navigate the challenge you may be facing. For support and referral help, you can call PA’s mental health helpline at 855-284-2494.