Mental health and COVID-19


   The novel coronavirus, otherwise widely known as COVID-19, which has spread vastly all around the world, is having a major impact on mental health. The fear and anxiety of a new, currently incurable disease can cause strong emotions and stress in people of all ages and how people respond will shape the rest of their crisis.

   According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), sharing and knowing the facts of the virus can help reduce stress and calling into hotline numbers like Disaster Distress Helpline will aid people who are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, and anxiety, and will help them to feel a bit safer and more secure.

   50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by the age of 14, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Considering teens and children react based on the reactions of the adults and guardians around them, parents and caregivers are major influencers on how children can take care of themselves and their mental health during this time.

   Signs to watch for include excessive irritation or crying, returning outgrown behaviors, worry and sadness, unhealthy sleeping and eating habits, irritability, poor school performance, difficulty concentrating, avoidance of past activities, unexplained pain (such as headaches), and use of drugs. “Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way,” according to the CDC. By talking to children about the outbreak and answering questions, fear may be reduced.

   Though parents and adults only make up part of the equation. Part of the responsibility is taking care of yourself. The CDC recommends taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. “Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting,” according to the CDC.

   Making time to unwind and connect with loved ones can also be beneficial. According to the University of Washington, people can stay connected by putting on an online game night or dance party, watching television shows together (people can do this through Zoom screen sharing), and doing a book club.

   People should continue to be aware of the pandemic by washing their hands and social distancing, but taking care of themselves and their needs is also important.

Danielle Black, Staff Reporter

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