Published on March 30, 2020

A Reminder to Take Care of Your Mental Health

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented people around the world with scenarios that require extreme measures. As a larger community, we are doing our part to help curtail its effects; remote working and learning, staying home and social distancing when a trip outside the home is required all play a part in reducing its spread. While we have the drive to do what’s necessary to physically limit contact, we must make use that same sense of purpose to stay connected to each other in alternative ways to secure our mental and emotional health. 

“Human beings are, by nature, social creatures. While many of our seniors were already facing isolation and loneliness, the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe has now created more people in isolation,” said Kathy Dollard, Psy.D., director of behavioral health, MidMichigan Health. 

Now more than ever, it is time to support our seniors, and each other, in any way we can. Reach out to family, friends and neighbors with a phone call, a text message with encouraging words, a card or letter. Use the technology at your disposal to video chat with your children, friends or join groups online. Do what you can to offer support to others and realize benefits yourself, as well. 

“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 Dollard. “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 our senses of security and joy. Making our best efforts to take charge of the things we can control becomes paramount for our overall health and well-being. 

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, call your grandkids and have them walk you through it
  • Watch videos online: 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
  • Reminisce about good times; your family has more time to enjoy and appreciate your stories
  • Remember that you have gotten through tough times in the past, and you will again 

“It is important to increase connections and enhance social support,” said Dollard. “While we can’t gather in person, know that you are not alone. This time of social distancing is temporary. There are many resources in our communities to help you with food, financial and health needs. Please use them.” 

Some resources:

  • 2-1-1 of Northeast Michigan for referrals and assistance with essential needs
  • Disaster Distress helpline, (800) 985-5990 or text “talkWithUs” to 66746, visit www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov
  • Crisis Hotline - Community Mental Health for Central Michigan, (800) 317-0708
  • Senior Services in Midland, (989) 633-3700 or visit www.seniorservicesmidland.org

As a service to the community, MidMichigan Health has also published a COVID-19 informational hotline with a reminder of CDC guidelines and recommendations.  Staff is also available to help answer community questions Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hotline can be reached toll-free at (800) 445-7356 or (989) 794-7600.