Published on March 30, 2020

MidMichigan Health Reminds You to Take Care of Your Mental Health

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented people around the world with scenarios that require extreme measures. As a larger community, individuals are doing their part to help curtail its effects by working and learning remotely, staying home and, when a trip outside the home is required, practicing social distancing. While a drive to do what’s necessary to physically limit contact is a clear focus, that same sense of purpose can be employed to stay connected to each other in new ways to secure mental health and emotional wellness.

“Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. If you are feeling afraid, sad or lonely, those feelings are normal given the circumstances,” said Cami Misiak, B.S.N., R.N., P.M.H.-B.C., nurse manager of behavioral health services at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. “If your emotions become unmanageable and lead to loss of sleep, nonstop worry, and depression, we are here to help.”

MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena’s Behavioral Health Services remains open, delivering care via telephone and virtual visits.

Access to local resources within communities is key to maintaining strong mental health, according to Misiak. “Human beings are, by nature, social creatures. Many of us are facing isolation and loneliness because the necessary precaution to keep everyone safe has required stringent separation,” Misiak said.

Now more than ever, supporting one other in any way possible is vital. Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors with a phone call, a text message of encouraging words, a card or letter can have a huge impact. Using the technology available to video chat with children, friends or join groups on-line can help one’s sense of connectedness. Offering support to others almost always benefits both parties.

“Loneliness can affect your physical and mental health, so it is important to reach out if you need the support of a friend or loved one,” added Misiak. “Don’t wait for someone to call you. It’s okay to be proactive and let someone know you are lonely and need to make a connection.”

During this time in which uncertainty is a constant, it can be difficult to stay in tune with a sense of security and joy. Making best efforts to take charge of what is controllable becomes paramount for overall mental health and wellbeing. 

Here are few tips to help in these days of social distancing:

  • Limit your exposure to the news
  • If you’re not using the latest technology, ask someone to walk you through it remotely
  • Watch videos on-line: crafting how-to’s, virtual tours of zoos and museums, Broadway shows and much more are readily available
  • Try a new hobby or pick up an old one you now have time for
  • Keep your mind sharp by doing puzzles, crosswords and playing card games
  • Go for a walk and look for signs of spring, keeping six feet from others
  • Call a family member and reminisce about good times; you have more time to enjoy and appreciate stories from your parents and grandparents
  • Remember that you have gotten through tough times in the past, and you will again 

“Our behavioral health services program is going to be a critical component of health care services available to members of our community as this pandemic draws closer to home,” said Misiak “We want residents to know that we are here and will be here as long as we are able.” 

Additional resources:

  • MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena’s Behavioral Health Services, phone (989) 356-7242, Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Disaster Distress helpline, phone (800) 985-5990 or text “talkWithUs” to 66746, visit www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov.
  • Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health, phone (989) 356-2161
  • 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan 

As a service to the community, MidMichigan Health has published a COVID-19 informational hotline with a reminder of CDC guidelines and recommendations. Staff is available to help answer community questions. The hotline can be reached toll-free at (800) 445-7356 or (989) 794-7600 or visit www.midmichigan.org/coronavirus.