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As Coronavirus continues to spread around the world, coverage continues to dominate the media…with no signs of slowing down in the near future. This ultimately results in trickle-down effects on the mental health and well-being of the population as a whole.

Put another way: people who haven’t even contracted the virus are still being affected. For instance:

  • Anxiety, stress, and panic increases in individuals due to the real (or perceived) threat of the virus
  • Sleep patterns are disturbed, resulting in fatigue and higher susceptibility to illness in general
  • Travel plans are cut short or canceled altogether, decreasing quality of life
  • People stay at home instead of going out, furthering feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • …and the list goes on 

Here are a few tips from the American Psychological Association to help reduce anxiety and fears about Coronavirus:

  1. Keep everything in perspective. Just because there’s a lot of coverage doesn’t mean you or your family are directly-threatened. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is extremely low.
  2. Get the facts. Find credible and unbiased sources you can trust, like the CDC, your local/state public health agencies, or your family physician. (You’re less-likely to get unbiased information from social media or the 24-hour news cycle.)  
  3. Speak with your children. Talk about the news coverage with honest and age-appropriate information. Remember that children observe behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings, and if you’re alarmed, they’ll likely follow suit.
  4. Stay connected. Social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Share helpful information from government websites and other unbiased sources with friends and family.
  5. Seek additional help. Individuals overwhelmed with nervousness, sadness, or other prolonged reactions that are affecting job performance or personal relationships should speak with a trained and experienced mental health expert.

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