Pandemics are scary enough without the isolation that comes along with social distancing, economic turmoil and quarantine.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people avoid gatherings and stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19 (coronavirus), local organizations, including the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, Carver County and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) began releasing advice for those who are struggling with the mental and emotional toll of isolation and anxiety.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted life for everyone and caused enormous stress and anxiety,” said Sheriff David Hutchinson in a news release on mental health coping tips. “At a time like this, everyone deserves a little help coping with stress, which is why we are sharing these resources with you today.”
In the face of fear about your health and the health of your loved ones, increased anxiety and depression symptoms, worsening chronic health problems or increased using of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, here are some small steps you can take to care for your mental well-being.
- Stretch, exercise, and make sure to get enough sleep and rest
- Drink water and avoid large amounts of caffeine or alcohol
- Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak with your loved ones
- Read or listen to a book on tape
- Take a (socially distanced) walk outside in nature
- Take a bath, shower, or practice meditation
- Do something nice for someone else, and be gentle with others experiencing stress
- Focus on what you can control, like your thoughts and behaviors
- Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local, or national news. When you do consume news, get accurate health information from reputable sources, like the Centers for Disease Control or the Minnesota Department of Health, or your local healthcare provider
- Reach out to someone − a friend, family member or local or national hotline − if you need to talk
While many businesses are shut down, there are still phone and online resources to help with stress, anxiety and fear. Here are some local ones:
- For help with emotional distress related to COVID-19, call Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) at 612-596-1223
- For children under 17 experiencing emotional distress, call Child Crisis at 612-348-2233
- For help with withdrawal management (detox), call 612-348-4111
There are also more information-based hotlines for Hennepin County. For health questions about COVID-19, call 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903. For questions related to schools and child care, call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.
- If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, you can get immediate help by contacting Carver County's crisis team at any time at 952-442-7601. The crisis team provides counseling and links to other resources.
- If you or a loved one are feeling overwhelming anxiety or sadness, First Street Center offers individual, family and group therapy sessions and medication consults via video conferencing or telephone. The number is 952-442-4437.
Information is compiled from Carver County, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Health.