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Caring for your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak

As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to climb and with workplaces and schools closed, anxiety is on the rise. It is important during this time, to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week, “we have to find some peace” in dealing with this situation for an extended time.

For those who are struggling, you can find assistance online site or by phone. For example, NJ Mental Health Cares, the state’s behavioral health information and referral service, has set up a helpline for people dealing with anxiety and worry.

Morris County residents can call 866-202-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support.  NJ Mental Health Cares will be answered from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week by live trained specialists.

Also, you can Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services or SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris has compiled a list of tips and resources to assist individuals and families with self-care.

Ways to Cope

  • Connect with family and friends by phone, e-mail, or social media.
  • Partake in activities that are soothing: take a warm bath; practice deep breathing; cook comfort foods.
  • Distract yourself by doing activities that keep you busy: gardening; doing art work. Listen to music and watch comedy movies that will make you laugh and lighten your mood.
  • Limit your news and media intake.
  • Go out in the fresh air and take a walk. Walking is one of the best exercises to help mitigate anxiety.
  • Keep a schedule and stay as close to your typical routine as possible. This will help you to have a sense of control and bring some normalcy to your day.
  • Remember that THIS WILL COME TO AN END as every other pandemic that has ever happened in history has and that your lives will return again to normal.

Mental Health and COVID-19 Resources

  1. Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus
  2. Mental Health Resources
  3. Online Recovery Meetings
  4. Resources for Arts & Entertainment
  5. Educational Resources
  6. Resources for Health & Wellness
  7. Faith Based Resources

Also, NewBridge Services is offering some excellent advice on dealing with the situation. Visit them online  to get help on how not to panic during this crisis. Some tips from NewBridge:

How Not To Panic

  • Take deep calming belly breaths and exhale slowly for a minute
  • Limit your exposure to graphic news stories 
  • Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources 
  • Maintain your normal routine as much as possible 
  • Eat well and rest 
  • Stay active both physically and mentally 
  • Stay in touch with family and friends 
  • Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs
  • Keep a sense of humor 
  • Share your concerns with others 
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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