When it comes to public health emergencies, stress reactions are very common. The international attention around coronavirus (named COVID-19) has led to concern among individuals, families, and communities. It is important to be aware of signs that natural stress might be turning into anxiety or depression for yourself or for those under your care.
What are the signs that normal stress is becoming something more?
Take note if worrisome thoughts linger or start to interfere with your day-to-day functioning. Symptoms of anxiety can impact you physically and emotionally, so taking care of yourself should be a priority.
How can you help someone you care for who is expressing fears about coronavirus?
One of the best things that you can do is be there for them. By talking non-judgmentally about their feelings, you can help address unwarranted fears and reduce stigma. When talking about the coronavirus with children, it is especially important to let them know that you are there to support and protect them and that the door is always open for any questions they may have.
Public health emergencies can be traumatic events and can make you or someone you love feel vulnerable, afraid or helpless. Talking about your feelings will reduce stigma and help eliminate barriers to obtaining the appropriate medical and mental health services.
Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi is a board-certified adult psychiatrist who passionately believes access to mental health treatment should be available to everyone. She completed her undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University, followed by medical school and residency training at New York University School of Medicine. She then completed a fellowship in Public Psychiatry at Columbia University. She has also done research on women’s mental health issues. Her approach to treatment is patient-centered and recovery-focused, dedicated to reducing mental health stigma and providing treatments that help patients maintain the quality of life they deserve.