As concerns surrounding the coronavirus increase, the stress of job security, financial strain and other issues can leave people feeling isolated and in need of mental health resources. (Courtesy Adobe Stock) As concerns surrounding the coronavirus increase, the stress of job security, financial strain and other issues can leave people feeling isolated.
As families stay home and human interaction is limited, we asked the team of experts at Georgetown Child & Family Counseling on the best mental health practices in a time of high stress with local resources below.
1. In high-stress times such as now, why is mental health important?
Stress can amplify negative emotions as part of our body’s natural response to protect ourselves. This can increase feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and general negative emotions. The attention on mental health by connecting with positive relationships, staying active, surrounding oneself with uplifting messages and mindfulness can help to decrease the negative impact of stress on mental health. It’s important to be able to have a clear mind in times of stress and by taking active steps toward wellness, one can move through difficult times such as this more easily.
2. What are some concerns self-quarantine could cause on those suffering from mental health issues?
The most common mental health issues in our country are anxiety and depression. Many common behaviors of people with these mood related disorders make the problems worse, such as seclusion activities of video gaming, TV and internet; numbing activities of alcohol, drugs and unhealthy eating; or sleep Issues including off sleep cycle, racing thoughts and night use of electronics.
3. What are some tips for people who are coping with the stress of coronavirus effects such as job loss, financial strain and others?
Self-quarantine can offer more opportunities to engage in patterns that increase issues with mental health. Being proactive with your own health and those of your loved ones can help. Add movement into your day by adding 10-15 minutes daily of walking or jogging to what your normal routine is. Get sunshine by opening the blinds/curtains in the home and try spending at least 30 minutes a day outdoors getting sunshine. Manage a healthy sleep rhythm as quality rest removes the toxins in the brain that may cause negative side effects- like memory loss, depression, anxiety and mood swings. Stay social.Social distancing may be a necessity at this time, but it doesn’t mean that we need to socially isolate. It’s important to stay engaged with people. We are biologically and emotionally wired to connect with others without that, we can feel ‘sick’. We are in an amazing time where we have the ability to Facetime, call, video meetings…to help us to stay social.
4. How can people keep their minds and bodies busy and healthy while at home? Every morning, dress the same way you would as if you were going to the office/school.
If you’re feeling lonely, schedule a virtual coffee break with a friend.
Schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to make and eat a healthy lunch every day.
Take time to develop a new ‘work/school-from-home’ schedule to help stay in a routine.
Prioritize regular exercise, adequate rest and time outdoors.
5. If someone believes they need help, what should they do?
If you are struggling, it’s important to reach out and talk with someone. A supportive friend or family member can be a life saver. Other times, it may be beneficial with a mental health professional. A professional counselor can help a person process the emotions they are experiencing and develop healthy coping tools for managing stress, anxiety and depression. They can also help a person to understand themselves, how they manage stress and understand the thinking patterns that support their wellbeing.
Looking for help? Here are some local resources. Please be sure to call first to ensure availability of services.
Note: If your practice would like to be added to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluebonnet Trails Community Services
711 N. College St., Georgetown
Center for Relational Care of Texas
3613 Williams Drive, Georgetown
Covenant Kids Family Services 505 W. University Ave., Georgetown817-516-9100 www.ckfamilyservices.org/programs-and-services/behavioral-health Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute 3101 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown512-819-1154 www.georgetownbehavioral.com Georgetown Child & Family Counseling 4118 Williams Drive, Georgetown512-651-1009 www.jennaflemingcounseling.com The Georgetown Project 2201 Old Airport Road, Georgetown512-943-0074 https://georgetownproject.org/ Jon Briery, LPC-S, LCDC, NCC 401 W. Sixth St., Georgetown512-695-0121 www.jonbriery.com Lone Star Circle of Care 2423 Williams Drive, Georgetown877-800-5722 https://lonestarcares.org/ Rachel Saenger, LPC-S, LMFT-S 3613 Williams Drive, Ste. 804, Georgetown512-864-5592 www.rachelsaenger.com Samaritan Center 3613 Williams Drive, Georgetown512-451-7337, 512-466-4454 https://samaritan-center.org/ Thrive Works 4749 Williams Drive, Ste. 301, Georgetown512-400-4069 https://thriveworks.com/georgetown-counseling/ Turning Point 1612 Williams Drive, Georgetown512-521-4652 https://www.turningpointpsych.com/ Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team 512-943-3545 www.wilco.org Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.