Tips to combat stress during coronavirus crisis: NJ Mental health

With the Coronavirus hype going around, it is indeed a moment of serious stress and anxiety among the people worldwide and that’s quite obvious too. In this moment of crisis, it is extremely essential to ensure that you are able to keep calm and positive. However, it’s easier said than done. Thus, the Gov. Phil Murphy suggested New Jerseyans to take care of their mental health and not feel low irrespective of the situation turning worse!

Both the Rutgers University and Mental Health Association in New Jersey were living up to Murphy’s “you are not alone … we are all in this together” motto. They have even raised the efforts that they have been doing to provide tips and telehealth services to the people around, thereby promoting the significance of the help hotlines so as to help serve some assistance during the crisis situation of Coronavirus. Ghinassi said that America is still in the phase of storm forecasting and they hadn’t seen any impact in terms of numbers so far as things have just begun out there. Well, all that the Americans had been seeing were nothing other than just the anticipatory stress that continued to go on much before they could know what and how the next lesson would look like! This is only because of the unknown fear and uncertainty that revolved around. 

Ghinassi said that Rutgers’ tools are always available to the world and that the teleheath options are circulated in a more expanded format across the patients, which range from preschool to that of geriatric, including that of the 19,000 prison inmates in all the states. Ghinassi even said that this crisis would show them a paradigm shift in the genre of teleheath wherein we have been suggesting for social isolation and quarantine for the people on one hand and that of deploying the traditional and out-patient behavioural health through telecare such as video and calls whenever necessary. 

Ghinassi said that the volunteer helplines include 10 peer to peer options that run 24*7. Rutgers behavioral health care is continuously monitoring the mental illness of the people, particularly the ones who have been hungry and helpless in this crisis situation. The Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University is also offering phone and telepsychology services in response to the Covid 19. This service is accessible to that of the New Jersey residents via bit.ly/39jNYJw. Even the students of the Rutgers University including that of the faculty and staff can avail these facilities.

The self health practice of social distancing is highly being encouraged by both the federal government as well as that of the public health care professionals. They are constantly saying about the importance of the measures that are to be taken in order to minimise the spread of Covid 19, as per the website note of the school. Thus, in-person mental health services may not be readily available to the people. Also, the Covid 19 crisis has increased the urgency of the individuals to call for a safe space wherein they would be able to discuss their concerns and receive some sort of assistance regarding this crisis. 

Tips for coping with stress

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Mental Health Association in New Jersey is primarily a statewide nonprofit to feature advocacy, training, services and education including that of the volunteer assistance and suicide hotlines. There is also a solution that directs to the process of coping up with this panic of the pandemic, to avail the assistance via a special help line at 866-202-HELP (4357). The group even recommended the necessity of taking care of yourself and your friends and family in this time of stress. Also, you need to take care of others so as to build a more strong community. There are several tips that we availed from the Mental Health Association as well. They include:

  • One should take breaks from watching, listening or reading news stories, and using social media. If you keep on hearing about the pandemic over and over again, it would not solve the issue. Instead, it will add up stress on you. 
  • Take deep breaths, meditate if possible and do some stretches. It is essential to take care of your body and make sure that you are intaking healthy abd balanced meals. Also, perform some exercises ok a regular basis and try to avoid alcohol and drugs as much as possible. Consequently, make sure that you are not over sleeping either. Try to figure out some work that you could do when you are free, instead of wasting those hours for no reason. 
  • Try to perform some sort of activities instead of sitting idle. Remember that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Therefore, prefer engaging yourself in doing something that you truly enjoy. 
  • Talk to people around you and try connecting to them. You can choose to talk about your concerns and build on your trust issues. Try to share your feelings with others, start interacting all over again!

How to help children reduce stress during the crisis?

It is important to understand that the mental and emotional toll of this pandemic is the maximum upon the minds of the children wherein the parents need to learn the ways to create a sense of normalcy at home. It is essential for the kids to understand the significance of social distancing and remote learning and none other than the parents could teach them so! The key to this is to create routines and have conversations that are age-appropriate inside the home itself. This would also validate the concerns of the children who have got nothing to do other than staying locked inside the home all throughout the day. Kelly Moore, a licensed clinical psychologist and program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare speaks volumes on the ways to assure better management of the crisis situation. 

Moore said in a statement that the kids tend to feel anxious when they find their lives in an unpredictable situation. She thus, said that the best way through which the parents can handle the concerns of their kids is to create a new rourine for them while they are at home. No matter even when they are at the home, and they do not have to go out to school, the kids would need to get up early, although a little later than usual won’t make much difference. However, they shouldn’t be too late as waking up late in the noon. Again, they should continue their normal morning hygiene and change their pyjamas and sit down for breakfast with the rest of the family. Make sure that the schedule doesn’t need to be rigid but it should be such that everyone in the family could follow it on a day-to-day basis. 

Moore suggested that one should be using earbuds and don’t put the TV on all throughout the entire day on the background. It’s okay to consume news but make sure that it’s not creating a panic among the rest of the members of the family, particularly the kids at home. Ensure sharing information based on age-related topics. 

Keep on reassuring the children again and again, thereby making them believe that there’s nothing to fear about! If there is no urgency to leave the house, be sure that you stay in. Yoi should also teach your children about the measures that you are supposed to take to ensure your own safety. 

In any case if your child’s preexisting depression level or anxiety seems to increase, tell them to write down their fears or worries or any sort of thoughts that they having in a journal and then you sit it on a review during the day. Talk to them and you will be able to help them, interaction and counselling may help! At times, just wtiting your worries down and having someone to listen to them can help you! You should be able to distinguish between social isolation and social distancing. In case you are working from home, choose to continue working in the same work space where your kids are working or doing their tasks, until and unless it becomes too very difficult. You can even help your kids using the FaceTime over the phone so that they can complete their homework while their classmates are doing. This will keep up their competitive motif. Moore even said that one of the biggest reasons for which these teleheath services have become so popular is due to social distancing that has become a mandate across most of the states. 

Moore says that distractions can at times, be helpful and beautiful too! Since kids are inclined to isolate themselves inside the home, family time becomes the necessity of the hour. It is essential for the parents to help their kids while indulging themselves in a family game. Definitely, the Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu or the regular TV can be your ally at this time of leisure but at the same time, you should introduce your family to different kinds of shows that convey the message of love and emotion. You can even engage yourself in watching the old sports that are being telecasted on air these days. 

Going outside can also be effective but ensure staying within the premises of your home. Atmost, you can go for a walk on tje porch or to grab some fresh air but not beyond that!

What you can do?

If you are freaking out in this hour of stress and anxiety, here are some resources to help you get some relief:

  • Mental Heath Association in New Jersey tip page: mhanj.org/covid-19
  • NJ Vet2Vet: 866-838-7654
  • Mental Health Hotline: 866-202-4357
  • NJ Suicide Prevention Hopeline: 855-654-6735
  • Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Call Center: bit.ly/3bv7VyB

You may seek assistance in any of these, if required.

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