WILMINGTON – With all the news coverage around coronavirus, some people may be feeling anxious about its spread or what may happen if there are outbreaks around the United States.
It’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned, but local mental health officials suggest taking a step back and think things through.
“It’s understandable to be anxious,” said Reija Huculak, Deputy Director of Adult Mental Health Services for the Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties. “There’s been a lot in the news that can raise feelings of anxiousness. That’s why it’s important to think realistically and be aware that some words can be hot buttons that are intended to trigger fear.”
Huculak pointed to an article from HealthyPlace.com that offers a few ways to help reduce the anxiousness around coronavirus, such as:
1. Be aware of your own mental health when on social media. There are alarmist posts and tweets all over social media, so try to navigate past them. If you see data that alarms you, check it against data on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, or even the World Health Organization (WHO).
2. Inform yourself responsibly. It’s good to keep abreast of what’s happening locally and in the world, especially about coronavirus. But consult reputable sources like the CDC or WHO.
3. Watch out for those hot-button words. People who are fearful may use words like “plague” or “infestation” or even “death toll” to fuel that fear in others. They are provocative words, so put them in perspective when you read or hear them, knowing that it’s still a serious situation.
4. Allow for the uncertainty. There’s a lot that’s still unknown about coronavirus, so it’s natural for anxiety to happen. Know that scientists are working on this to learn and official information will be shared when they can release it.
5. Consider possibilities realistically. People can jump to conclusions when they hear or read certain things about coronavirus. But, for example, concepts like “potential spread” versus “actual spread” can be misused, leading to fear and perhaps panic. Pause and take stock of the meaning of the information you’re reading or hearing and check it against reputable sources like the CDC or WHO.
6. Do what you can around you. Take steps to keep you and your family healthy, such as those being put out by local health departments: wash your hands, sanitize counters and other surfaces, and cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow.
For more on this topic, visit healthyplace.com and search on coronavirus anxiety.
Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties (MHRBWCC) is the local board of mental health and addiction services for residents of Warren and Clinton Counties. MHRBWCC plans, funds, monitors, and evaluates services and programs provided by various agencies that care for residents living with mental health and addiction issues. For more information, visit mhrbwcc.org.