In a recent poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, 70 percent of Americans are concerned about COVID-19 spreading to their communities.

The outbreak of COVID-19 can cause people to experience fear, anxiety, and stress, according to The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyone reacts differently to the stress from the outbreak, but the CDC reports “coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.”

There are a few ways to help cope with this time:

  • Take care of your physical health by taking deep breaths, meditation, eating healthy meals, exercising safely, and avoiding alcohol and drug use. 

  • Practice activities you enjoy like whether that’s reading, playing with your children or listening to your favorite music. 

  • Connect safely with others and talk with people about how you’re feeling. 

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news and social media as hearing about pandemics repeatedly can be upsetting. 

Crisis Services Executive Director Jessica Pirro also says that now is the time to pay more attention to how much information you’re consuming.

“For overall mental health, I think we have to take control of what we’re viewing, what we’re reading, what we’re seeing. That’s not to say put your head in the sand,” Pirro said. “But I think you do need to pay attention to how much exposure you’re having to information and maybe limit it.”

Pirro suggests blocking out certain times of the day to check on news updates.

Pirro also suggests that people who have anxiety and mental health conditions already are more vulnerable right now and to focus on developing and maintaining a coping plan around the virus.

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue their treatment plan during COVID 19 and monitor any new symptoms that may arise. 

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for resources to cope with behavioral health.

Mental Health Advocates of WNY released a 10-step plan to ease anxiety as well. 

Crisis Services operates a 24-hour, 7-day hotline at 716-834-3131 or visit their website.

To find more resources around mental health in Erie County, visit this website.

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