PICKENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, health experts said it’s creating a considerable amount of fear and anxiety. Now they want you to keep you mental and physical health at top of mind.
Since many people are unable to go to counseling in-person, health experts are promoting on-line counseling. They said there are more digital self-help meeting groups to assist people during this time.
Emergency management psychologist said they’re concerned for everyone, especially those with pre-existing chronic illnesses of the mind. This includes those who suffer with schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, and more.
“We have never been in this situation before,” said Angela Farmer, Executive Director for Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County.
Health experts said the Coronavirus pandemic has changed every aspect of life, including mental health.
“We’re finding that there’s considerable pandemic anxiety,” said Dr. Sam Bernard, Emergency Management Psychologist.
Dr. Bernard focuses on disaster mental health all over the country. Both he and Farmer said they are concerned for the mental health community and anyone who may be stressed for several reasons.
“So with these unprecedented times, we are looking at all the different ways to make sure our clients are safe,” Farmer said.
One of their unique ways is in a place we all have access to around the clock.
“There’s online resources. A lot of self-help meetings you can find online,” Farmer said. “Digital AA, NA, celebrate recovery kinds of meetings that they have access to,” she added.
For those who struggle with substance abuse disorders, they’re telling you to not turn to old habits.
“Part of recovery is being around healthy people and staying away from people who are toxic or people who are struggling with their own issues,” said Benjamin Barth, Clinical Director at Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County.
They said it’s important to get more sleep, watch your eating patterns, and exercise to keep your mind busy.
“Keep busy! Keep active,” Farmer said.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has free confidential hotline services 24 hours a day.
Most importantly, as you practice social distancing, leaders want you to remain positive.
“We do want to encourage social interaction and emotional interaction,” said Dr. Bernard.
Experts said during such a difficult time, always remember there is help.
“Keep in mind this is a very temporary situation. People are working very very hard to come to solutions for this. And we’ll all get through this the best we can,” Farmer said.
“Try to keep a positive attitude. This is a temporary situation. We’re not really sure how long this is going to last, but just keep in mind it is temporary and just try to keep in touch with people,” she added.
Health experts said there are peer recovery support groups all over the web.
Here are more tips and resources to keep your mind busy, less worried, and healthy:
- CDC information: Manage Anxiety and Stress
- Digital Self-Help Recovery Meeting
- NA Digital Self-Help Meeting
- AA Digital Self-Help Meeting
- Women for Sobriety
Helpful Hotline Resources
- SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline or you can call 1-800-985-5990
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call, 1-800-273-8255