Maintaining Emotional Health and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has offered resources and tips to help all people boost emotional health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak and the adjustments that have resulted. Pembroke Public Schools has offered resources supporting social and emotional learning, as well as how to talk to children about the coronavirus. Old Colony Elder Services has resourcs available to support older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Taking care of your emotional health and well-being during this time is important. Decreasing stress can help bolster your immune system and can help keep you and others around you healthy. Below are a list of resources and tips for staying emotionally healthy and well.
Resources for reducing stress and for healthy coping
Combating Isolation and Lonliness
- Find a pen pal! Write a letter to a friend or family member. Writing has been shown to help people feel less sad or upset. Don't forget to wash your hands after you get back from dropping the letter in the mailbox!
- Schedule a virtual "hangout" with friends or loved ones using an online video system such as FaceTime or Google Hangout.
- Call a neighbor or a friend to check-in on how they are doing.
- If you are healthy, offer to run an errand for an elderly or infirm neighbor. Helping others can help us feel connected and gives us a sense of purpose during this difficult time. Be mindful to wash your hands before and after the errand and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and the person you are helping. Even seemingly healthy people can transmit illnesses.
- Go for a walk and simply wave or greet others from a safe distance.
- Social media can help us maintain connections to others, especially family and friends who live far away. Too much exposure, however, can make anxiety or depression worse. Be mindful of how much time on social media helps you feel connected and less alone versus overwhelmed.
Tips and activities for children
- Parent / Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Express Yourself (EXYO) Imagination Station - an online collection of art prompts, fun activities and guest artist features.Tune in to the IMAGINE NATION STATION on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram between 11-12 pm, each Monday through Thursday, to discover a new creative prompt or lesson. Visit EXYO to learn more
- Helping Homebound Children during the COVID-19 Outbreak
- Isaac's Story - A children's book and video about talking to kids about mental health
- Talking to Your Children about Highly Stressful Events
- From Autism Speaks - A Flu Picture Story
- "Don't Share Your Germs!" - A Social Story About Staying Healthy
Stigma and discrimination prevention
Misinformation and concern over COVID-19 can make us all anxious and may also lead discrimination and stigma against people or places. The resources below are intended to help reduce and prevent stigma, as well as support those who have experienced discrimination.
What we can do to prevent stigma (source: Washington State Department of Health):
- Rely on and share trusted sources of information.
- Speak up if you hear, see, or read stigmatizing or harassing comments or misinformation.
- Show compassion and support for individuals and communities more closely impacted.
- Avoid stigmatizing people who are in quarantine. They are making the right choice for their communities.
- Do not make assumptions about someone’s health status based on their ethnicity, race or national origin.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Reducing Stigma
- Voices of Youth - Your Voices Against Stigma and Discrimination
- National Association of School Psychologists - Countering COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Stigma and Racism: Tips for Parents and Caregivers
- Practical steps individuals can take to speak up against racism during the coronavirus pandemic. - Teaching Tolerance
Mental Health Crisis Support
- Contact your behavioral health provider to see if they can schedule a telehealth visit. Telehealth is a virtual therapy session. Many providers are now offering this option.
- Contact Samaritans 24/7. Call or text our 24/7 helpline any time at 1-877-870-4673.
- Contact Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741
- Visit the new Massachusetts Network of Care website to locate behavioral health resources in your area.
- Contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) - 1-877-382-1609 (read more about this program)
Contact DMH - dial 211 or visit the massachusetts 211 website