The uncertainly surrounding COVID-19 (coronavirus) has us all on edge, and we have real-life concerns to handle. Much of what allowed us to keep balance is no longer available (worship services, gyms, celebrations with friends and family) and so we are left with a lot of worry and an inability to rely on our typical methods of coping. It makes a lot of sense that this can lead to us feeling out of control and disconnected. But human connection is absolutely essential during a time of isolation. Here are ways to stay connected:
Use the Alliance’s platforms. Now is the time to lean on your allies. We offer numerous ways to do just that:
Join the Alliance’s Blue Hope Nation on Facebook
Participate in the Buddy Program (you can be connected to a buddy or become a buddy mentor)
Call our free helpline to speak with a certified patient and family support navigator
Join our daily online chats to connect with others. There’s a brand new chat dedicated to the COVID-19-related anxiety and feelings we’re all struggling with right now.
Technology provides many ways to connect with friends and family. Most major platforms, including Google and Facebook, offer simple two-way video communications. Skype is a video call alternative from Microsoft that can be downloaded as an app on your phone or computer. If you have an iPhone or Mac computer, you can FaceTime with other people who have the same type of device. Android users can download Whatsapp.
Social media is a great tool for when we need to connect. But sorting through all of the content—which can be harmful mentally and even false—can feel overwhelming. We recommend setting time aside to scroll through your feed each day, maybe once or twice a day. Take time away from social media to be present. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your pets. We are all home together which is unique and different. Cherish these moments of togetherness with those in front of you. From PC Mag, here are effective ways you can limit screen time.
With pen and paper or a computer and mouse, write. Writing can promote self-reflection and help ease anxiety. When you write on paper, sans a “backspace” button, more thought is required for each word—shifting your focus from the world events surrounding you to the words on paper. Plus, just imagine the joy of the person who receives your letter or email! Need more convincing? Piedmont Healthcare tells of the therapeutic benefits of writing here, and the HuffPost shares nine reasons why we should make more handwritten letters.
Seek counseling. It’s very normal to experience an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms during times of uncertainty. We encourage professional support for all who are experiencing change that impacts emotional well-being, like the coronavirus pandemic. Now is the time to reach out for help. Mental health professionals everywhere are expecting more people to need their services and they are available virtually to help. Our patient and family support navigators are here to talk through your concerns and can connect you to a counselor or therapist if you don’t know where to start. If you’re already in counseling, do not stop counseling or medication without consulting your doctor. Ask your mental health professional about virtual options for sessions.
These free hotlines are available 24/7:
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Text NAMI to 741741 for assistance
National Suicide Prevention Helpline
Toll-Free (English): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Toll-Free (Español): 1-888-628-9454