Protecting Mental Health During Stressful Times

Protecting Mental Health During Stressful Times

March 26, 2020

With coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) now affecting many aspects of daily life, Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) representatives want residents to recognize the need to take care of their mental health along with protecting themselves from disease.

“We know this outbreak is likely stressful for people for many different reasons,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “The fears and worry we may experience can be at times overwhelming.”

Matt Petry, Behavioral Health Division senior administrator with WDH, said “Experts tell us that our individual responses to stress caused by the outbreak are affected by our backgrounds, the things that make us different from other people and our communities.”

Anyone in immediate danger of harming themselves, or who knows of someone in immediate danger of harming themselves, should call 911 for emergency services. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts is encouraged to call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “WYO” to 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line.

Petry noted people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment as much as possible and take note of any new or worsening symptoms.

“Wyoming’s community mental health providers are a good resource for help and their services are available regardless of ability to pay,” Petry said. “Many local mental health providers are helping clients using telehealth methods during this time. Contact your local provider to learn more about their currently available services.”

More information about community mental health centers throughout Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/behavioralhealth/mhsa/treatment/cmhc/.

Other personal actions Wyoming residents can take to support their mental wellbeing include:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of physical health. Try to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind with safe and enjoyable activities.
  • Safely connect with trusted others to talk about concerns.

More information about managing anxiety and stress during the pandemic is available from CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html.

More information about COVID-19 in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.