Mental Health: As Important as Washing Your Hands

June 9, 2020

We’ve heard and memorized the importance and efficacy of simple everyday practices to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like coronavirus (see NYS Department of Health Sidebar below). Something that is equally important, but doesn’t receive the same amount of attention, is that we need to address and take care of our mental health.

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone in different ways. Be sure to also address what’s going to keep you mentally healthy now and in the future. Here are resources you may find helpful.

New York State Department of Health Mental Health Services

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) at the New York State Department of Health provides resources to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New Yorkers can learn about managing anxiety in these difficult times, as well as other things. You can find out more here.

Below are two of the important mental health services that The New York State Department of Health offers:

  • Mental Health Counseling and Emotional Support: You can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling. 
  • Emotional Support for Front Line Health Care Workers: If you know someone providing front line healthcare, let them know that the state is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide a 24/7 emotional support service for frontline health care workers: workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access these emotional support services.

Governor Cuomo Teams Up with Headspace

New Yorker State of Mind

Headspace, an online resource for meditation and mindfulness has teamed up with Governor Cuomo’s Office to offer New Yorkers free meditation content as a mental health resource.

This scientifically backed content can help in coping with the crisis. Its meditation and mindfulness techniques may help you to reduce stress, boost compassion and resilience, and reduce negative emotions.

Special content for New Yorkers can be accessed here

Free For Healthcare Providers and Educators

If you know a healthcare provider,  let them know that Headspace has made Headspace Plus free through 2020 for all U.S. healthcare providers working in a public health setting who have an NPI (National Provider Identifier). Learn more here.

If you are an educator or know someone who is, Headspace is offering free access to all K-12 teachers, administrators, and supporting staff. Learn more here.

CDC Tips for Coping with Stress

The CDC points out that everyone reacts to stressful situations differently, depending on a person’s background, personality, and the community in which a person lives. The CDC suggest these ways to help cope with stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body
  • 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.

There are many other helpful suggestions, techniques, and resources on the CDC website.

World Health Organization Guidelines for Coping

The World Health Organization (WHO) also provides guidelines for coping with COVID-19

Included in its recommendations is that individuals “find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories.”

Actively seek out positive stories, people, and influences. An example is actor John Krasinki’s Some Good News YouTube channel. Check out his first episode and you will be hooked.

Most people we know have expressed, “I’m doing OK with it all until I’m not.” Be sure to take care of yourself mentally and physically as we move forward through these challenging times. Access and use whatever resources or techniques help to maintain mental health.