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Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Liza Patchen-Short, the Snohomish County Children’s Mental Health Liaison with Human Services Behavioral Health, recommends following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources. People can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
Additional information and resources on mental health care can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.
Reactions during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends, and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help. Call your healthcare provider if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row.
Things you can do to support yourself:
Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.
Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Not all children respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for in children:
There are many things you can do to support your child:
Learn more about helping children cope.
Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:
For people who have been released from quarantine:
Being separated from others if a health care provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Some typical reactions after being released from COVID-19 quarantine can include:
Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. You can help your child cope.
Learn more tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response.
Mental Health Resources:
The Volunteers of America Western Washington offers crisis care support for those who are experiencing mental and emotional distress related to this outbreak. This may include family members who are separated from loved ones at long-term care facilities where visitation is being limited to prevent the spread of illness to a vulnerable population.
Please note that this crisis line is not the proper venue for questions about COVID-19 or the public health or health care response. The crisis line is staffed by mental health professionals, but they do not have information about patients, testing, event cancellations, or other details of the COVID-19 response.
The contact information for the crisis line for residents of Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan, Island, or Whatcom counties is: 800-584-3578 by phone or www.imhurting.org for text or chat.
For Families and Children
For First Responders