Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 11:56 AM, Mar 14, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With constant COVID-19 updates in the news and on social media, it's easy to become anxious about the outbreak. As we're urged to take care of our physical health, our mental health is just as important.

As cases of the novel coronavirus rise, there are a lot of unknowns about how long the pandemic will last and what we should do.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says recent spikes in anxiety could be linked to that uncertainty. The foundation has some suggestions on how to calm your nerves.

One thing is to separate what is in your control from what is not. You can't control the virus spreading worldwide, but you can wash your hands, avoid large crowds and do what helps you feel a sense of safety. That can be different for everyone.

Another thing that's beneficial for your mental health is getting outside, preferably when the sun is shining. You can still go out while avoiding crowds, by taking a walk through the park or your neighborhood.

The foundation recommends challenging yourself to stay in the present. Focus on what's happening right now, rather than worrying about something that hasn't happened yet. Also, talk with someone if you need support, whether it's family, a friend, or a professional.

If you are feeling alone and struggling, you can reach out to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or calling 1-800-273-TALK.