Coping with COVID-19 Vaccine Anxiety

The City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) has partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines.   In this webinar, the Health Department shares data and information about the development and safety of the vaccines; DBHIDS Chief Medical Officer Sosunmolu Shoyinka, M.D. provides tips to handle vaccine anxiety; and DBHIDS Certified Peer Specialist Nerrissa Mixon shares about her decision-making process to get the vaccine.  You are not alone if you’re feeling nervous about the new, urgently developed vaccines. Despite the data, safety precautions, and FDA regulations ensuring the safety of the vaccines, it is totally reasonable to have the “what-ifs” creep into our thoughts. What if they rushed the development? What if I have side effects that are extreme? These fears are rational and can contribute to COVID-related anxieties. It has been more than a year that we’ve all been living with the stress and anxiety of navigating through this global pandemic. Every decision we make requires an in-depth risk/benefit analysis and it is exhausting. Please join us to ease your concerns about the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. And while you're thinking about the vaccine to protect your body, don't forget to think about how this past year of stress and anxiety has also affected your behavioral health with the new DBHIDS Boost [...]

2021-06-16T13:24:41-04:00June 16th, 2021|Pandemic|

‘Pandemic Fatigue’: The Impact of Prolonged Social Distancing on Children’s Mental Health

Researchers and public health experts continue to collect important data on children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the full impact of pandemic mitigation measures on child/adolescent mental health may not be known for some time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in addition to pandemic-related stressors, there may be unintended consequences of public health efforts to effectively manage the pandemic, including reduced or modified access to places such as schools and clinical and community agencies where trained adult professionals are able to identify and help children who may be struggling with mental health or other social-emotional problems. We do, however, know that children and adolescents thrive on positive peer social interactions and that the traditional ways children interact with friends has been significantly limited by the steps required to curb the spread of COVID-19. Those social-emotional bonds are critically important for children and especially teens. As we enter one year since the early stages of the pandemic in March 2020, the real challenge for children is how to physically distance while maintaining socially and emotionally close to others. Though it is important to balance the risk of screen-time overload, technology remains a key resource for allowing children to continue to feel connected to their peers. Equally important is catching warning signs of mental health [...]

2021-03-04T12:06:27-05:00March 4th, 2021|Pandemic|

How to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

by Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) As we approach the anniversary of the onset of COVID worldwide, people all over the world are experiencing a variety of emotions. As a result of COVID, most people have experienced isolation, stress, anxiety, and confusion at some point. Many have lost loved ones. Many others have lost their usual source of income. Reading and hearing about the number of deaths from COVID is distressing. Family and other relationships have been particularly stressed by isolation and distancing protocols put in place to limit the spread of COVID. Amidst all this, there has been an increase in alcohol and/or drug use to cope. Even with the approach of spring and the availability of vaccines, anxiety and stress levels remain high for many. Those with pre-existing anxiety and other mental health conditions may be particularly at risk. Individuals and teams whose work brings them in contact with infected persons have experienced stress and anxiety about possibly contracting COVID and/or spreading it to their loved ones. 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. For some groups, such as working parents of young [...]

2021-03-04T12:04:27-05:00March 4th, 2021|Pandemic|

Be Mindful This Holiday Season

Across our city, country, and the world, seasonal and religious holidays have not been and will not be the same this year.  For many, the coming weeks are always a fragile time of year, and 2020 is certainly no exception. Sadly, people have lost family members and friends in recent months, some have lost jobs, and most will not be spending holidays together for health and safety reasons. For some, absent friends or family has always made the holidays difficult, but this year, more of us will feel this emptiness. Our lives have been turned upside down, and some have gone from bad to worse. Whatever your circumstances, it is not at all unusual to feel overly emotional or act differently than you typically would during these uncertain times. While some may be able to "keep calm and carry on," there's nothing wrong with not feeling calm or finding it difficult to carry on. So what can we do to embrace this year's holiday season, try to manage our emotions, and carry on? We can start by accepting that this is a year like no other. We can: Choose not to surrender to negative feelings, accept our situation, learn from it, and find comfort in what we still have. Think back to other harsh challenges we've confronted in our lifetime and how we managed to get [...]

2021-01-02T15:28:30-05:00December 1st, 2020|Holidays, Pandemic|
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