by Laura Vega, DSW, LCSW In these times of intense stress, it is most difficult to find our peace and balance. We are experiencing unprecedented times with daily increases in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and the number of deaths. Color-coded tracking maps magnify the power of the virus’ transmission across our counties, states, and countries. In real time, we receive tweets and notifications of “hot zones” and alerts about increasing rates of transmission. In addition to the threats to our own health and the healthcare system, we are experiencing real economic loss and a hostile political climate. In these times of intense stress, it is most difficult to find our peace and balance. We all struggle with our need for control and predictability in times when the rules are changing daily. We must find our own personal balance of how much news we need to stay informed without inundating ourselves with fear and anxiety. How do we balance the mandate for social distancing with our need for human connection? Accommodate the need to protect our children with the responsibility to provide care and supplies for our aging parents? How do we balance the blessing of working remotely with the demands to teach and care for our children simultaneously? How do we process the loss of lives and panic [...]
by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) These are stressful and uncertain times. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is very sudden and can be confusing. This may provoke anxiety for many people. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work bring them in contact with infected persons may experience stress and anxiety. Other groups at risk for increased stress include the elderly, those caring for sick or vulnerable persons, and those experiencing significant changes to work, travel, or family life. Regardless of status or work function, we can anticipate that all of us will at some point experience some increased stress. At times like this, it is important to take steps to promote mental wellness and resilience. DBHIDS aligns with SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association to make the following recommendations: Connect with people: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. Make phone calls frequently, FaceTime, and text to stay connected. Relax: Calm your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, pray, or engage in home-based [...]
In response to COVID-19, BHTEN and DBHIDS Education and Training are hosting a weekly webinar series about adapting to this unforeseen situation. Webinars will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 pm via Zoom, beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Initial topics will include: Alcohol Dependence and COVID-19 Implications Stress & Coping during COVID-19 Supporting Children during COVID-19 Coping & Self Care Best Practices for Telecommuting Check back for links to the rest of the upcoming webinars.
In situations such as concern around COVID-19, the Coronavirus, many people experience increased stress, anxiousness and panic. The constant stream of articles being shared on social media and televised news reports can increase feelings of worry and uncertainty. To manage such situations, it is important to: Reference accurate prevention information, and reliable, factual resources such as the World Health Organization, the CDC and the City of Philadelphia in order to distinguish facts from rumors. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and avoid constant conversation with others about subjects that are distressing. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Seek information at specific times once or twice a day. Maintain a healthy lifestyle - including proper diet, sleep, and exercise. Stay connected with others online or over the phone even if you are maintaining your physical distance. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Distract yourself if feeling anxious, and do things that you enjoy doing. Ask your healthcare provider about tele-therapy or online mental health services if you need support and feel uneasy about attending therapy sessions outside the home. Request an increased supply of prescription medication or refill your medications as soon as they are allowed. Take a moment to review these resources to stay informed and mentally well: From [...]