The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Your Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the last year and a half have taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. From anxiety about the lockdown and mitigation orders to stress about where your next paycheck my come from, everyone around the globe is struggling. With millions of American’s getting vaccinated each day, including over 50% of Pennsylvanians receiving their first dose to date, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In this blog, we will address the affect of COVID-19 on your mental health and some tips for how you can better manage those affects.
COVID-19 and your Mental Health
One of the major factors contributing to the spike in mental health during the COVID pandemic is stress. Our stress levels have all been spiked, for many this is the first major crisis they have faced in their lifetime and for some it is added to the growing lists of crises. No matter what is causing the stress, it can lead to some not so great effects on you. Stress can cause the following:
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
- Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
The most important part is to understand that you are not alone, the rest of the world is going through this with you and there are many ways to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety – Tips from the CDC
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. You can call 412-361-8255 to schedule a vaccine appointment at ELFHCC.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail. You can call ELFHCC’s Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Mary Lovett at 412-665-8551 and leave your request for a prayer, or if you wish, she can call you back if you leave a return phone number.
If you are struggling to cope, there are many great resources out there; from crisis hotlines to East Liberty Family Health Care Center’s Behavioral Health and Social Services Department. Help is only ever a phone call away.
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT AT ELFHCC:
Call 412-661-2802 or visit our Behavioral Health and Social Services page for more information on services we offer.
- UPMC re:SOLVE CRISIS NETWORK: 1-888-796-8226
- Peer Supported Advocacy Network (PSAN) Warmline: 1-866-661-9276
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
If you are having a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1.