Guest post by Mary Anne Fout, Community Initiatives Team Leader, Arizona Youth Partnership, Youth Mental Health First Aid Facilitator
In the face of this pandemic, we are hearing about how to take care of ourselves to prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19: we are washing our hands more frequently, being more mindful about covering our coughs and sanitizing surfaces. Communities are practicing social distancing, sheltering in place, quarantine all in consideration of our health and the health of those around us.
But what affect is all of this having on our mental well-being and the mental health of those we care about? The new “normal” each of us is experiencing right now can cause us to have a lot of different feelings.
Are you overwhelmed by the constant barrage of new information you are seeing the on news and on social media? Worried about the impact of lost income as businesses close on a temporary or permanent basis? Antsy because you are a very social creature and you can’t do things you would normally be doing (with the people who mean the most to you)? Angry because major plans (including graduations and weddings) have been cancelled or postponed? Tired of hearing “we’re all in this together”, “we’ll get through this” or “at least you’re healthy”?
It is absolutely okay to be feeling…whatever it is you are feeling. That said, in order to keep mentally healthy, we have to be honest about those feelings, find someone to process them with and most importantly find healthy ways to deal with these thoughts and emotions. It’s not going be as simple as “snap out of it”, “find something to do at home”, “this too shall pass”.
If we are going to take care of each other, we have to take care of ourselves first. This article has some tips on how to do that.
Now take it one step further: imagine that someone you care about/have frequent contact with is having all of those feelings but they were dealing with a mental health concern before COVID-19 was part of our everyday lives and it seems they are struggling much harder or not dealing well at all. Maybe their depression or bi-polar disorder is keeping them from reaching out for help – from you or anyone.
AzYP is proud to be providing Mental Health First Aid training throughout Pima County and are eager to share the resources at our disposal to help the community walk through this stressful time. https://azyp.org/program/mental-health-first-aid/
This article can provide some tips on how to reach out to someone who might need you.