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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.