While we all take coronavirus precautions, taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
During this time of isolation and uncertainty, many therapy centers are being flooded with calls.
At the Psychiatric Wellness Center, “the phone calls are pretty much nonstop,” said Director of Operations, Gianna De Keles.
They’ve transferred all existing patients to video calls with their therapists, but there’s also an influx of new patients.
“Even people who don’t generally categorize themselves as having a diagnosis are feeling anxious and scared right now, and it definitely doesn’t help being in isolation,” De Keles said.
She continued, “there is this sense of feeling defeated or lack of control. Both of those feelings can push someone in the direction of feeling (like) self-harm is the answer, or taking more medications, prescribed or not prescribed, to get through this time.”
Their tips for combating depressive feelings include going outside and socializing through video calls.
“When you’re active, your body releases endorphins, which is a protective barrier against negative thoughts and feelings,” De Keles said.
There’s another technique they call “reframing.”
De Keles explains, “instead of feeling like ‘I’m trapped inside my house right now, no one will let me leave,’ instead maybe think of it as, ‘I’m staying inside my home right now to protect everybody.’”
If you’re looking for a therapist during this time, she recommends calling your insurance first.
“There should be an online portal for every insurance company that has a list of providers that are in-network,” she said.
In emergency situations, it’s advised you admit yourself to an inpatient clinic where you can be monitored over a few days.
“We know through history that humans have gone through pandemics like this before, and now we have even better technology,” De Keles said. “Yeah, we don’t know the timeline, but we’ll get through this.”
If you’re struggling, there are many numbers you can call.
Kern Behavioral Health has a 24-hour hotline: 1-800-991-5272.
They also have a number if you need help with substance abuse: 1-866-266-4898.
And there is always the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255