Mental health experts encourage mental wellness be part of Coronavirus prevention.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Beth Menchen suggests daily self-checks to monitor stressors and encourages adjusting behavior accordingly with self-care.
Menchen, Senior Clinical Manager with Suncoast Center, Inc. is also a member of Zero Suicide Partners of Pinellas, which wants to make sure the community knows there is help and hope.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these self-care tips to help promote emotional health and wellness:
- Take care of your body-Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation also can help.
- Connect with others- Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system. If you are in self-quarantine or isolation, stay connected digitally to family and friends.
- Take breaks-Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Get outside when possible, within the requirements for keeping distance from others.
- Stay informed-When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis and seek reliable sources of information.
- Avoid too much exposure to news and social media-It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Take breaks from the news and social media to do enjoyable activities. Follow a routine as much as possible.
The CDC lists signs of stress as:
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Anger or short temper.
· National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org; 1 800 273 TALK (8255)
· Suncoastcenter.org; 727-388-1220
· 211 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. : https://211tampabay.org/; Call 211 or Text Your Zip Code to 898211
· National Council for Suicide Prevention: https://www.take5tosavelives.org/take-5-steps/
· Statewide Office for Suicide Prevention Florida: https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/samh/prevention/suicide-prevention/
· Veterans Military Crisis Line: http://www.veteranscrisisline.net; 1 800 273 8255; SMS: send a text message to: 838255; chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat
Signs & Symptoms of Emotional Distress
- Key signs of emotional distress are:
- Drastic changes in mood
- Loss of interest in usual activities
Key outward signs of suicidal thoughts are:
- Withdrawing from activities
- Recklessness/Risky behaviors
- Isolating from family and friends
- Giving things away
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Searching online for methods to end their lives
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye