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By Jose A. Alvarez
San Diego County Communications Office 

Tips to maintain your mental health during COVID-19

 

Last updated 5/20/2020 at 5:49pm

Outbreaks of infectious diseases can be a stressful time. With additional concerns about the economic impact of the pandemic, many may feel overwhelmed with anxiety, fear or worry.

May is Mental Health Month, and San Diego County officials are encouraging residents to monitor their mental well-being and that of their loved ones. They're also offering tips on how to mentally cope with pandemics.

Common signs of distress may include:

· 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

Luke Bergmann, director of County Behavioral Health Services, said it's important for residents to keenly observe their mental and emotional well-being and to find ways to safely stay connected to their friends and family. Be aware of the signs of stress and know when to seek help for themselves and for those they care about.

"While COVID-19 is impacting communities in different ways and to different extents, it is traumatic for all of us. We all need one another, now maybe more than ever, to get through difficult times," Bergmann said. "Find ways to stay connected. Call or video chat with friends and family or a support line until it's safe to do it in person."

Here are more tips to maintain mental health:

· Take care of your body by stretching, taking deep breaths and meditating.

· Eat healthy and well-balanced meals.

· Exercise and get plenty of sleep.

· Make time to unwind and engage in activities you love, if they're allowed.

· Limit time spent watching, reading or listening to information about the pandemic, even on social media.

Mental health resources are available year-round.

Mental Health Month was established to raise awareness, educate communities and reduce stigma surrounding people experiencing mental illness.

The county and its partners have created virtual events to commemorate the month, due to the restrictions on public gatherings. People can still come together to break the stigma and support mental health.

It's important for residents to know that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health resources and support are still readily available through county Behavioral Health Services and its many service providers.

If you or someone you know need help or are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can talk to a trained counselor by calling the county's 24-hour, multilingual Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240. Other resources are available on Behavioral Health Services' COVID-19 Resources for Families, Parents and Caregivers webpage, https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa or the It's Up to Us website, https://up2sd.org.

 

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