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COVID-19 Tip Sheets | Mental Health Considerations

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Voices of September 11th COVID-19 Tip Sheets
 
Mental Health Considerations Relating to the COVID-19 Outbreak
 
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals may experience fear and anxiety due to the unpredictability of the spread of the virus internationally.
 

Community mandated restrictions have caused a disruption in daily routines, with children and adults working from home. Social isolation, fear of catching the virus, and financial insecurity due to job loss, may contribute to additional stress.

During widespread crisis, those who have predispositions to mental health conditions, a history of substance abuse, or domestic violence are especially vulnerable at this time. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. Below is a summary of common reactions to stressors, danger signs, mental health conditions, and when to seek professional help.


 
Reactions and Signals to Monitor
 
Common Reactions to Stressors
 
  • Intense or unpredictable feelings. You may feel sad, anxious, or nervous. You may feel irritable, angry, or moody, or you may experience feelings of guilt or self-blame.
  • Strains on your relationships. Increased conflicts with family members, friends and colleagues can occur because you’ve been isolated or disengaged from your usual social life.
  • Physical symptoms. You may have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. You may not have an appetite or begin overeating. You could have other physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, and chest pain.
  • Flashbacks. You might experience vivid memories of prior traumas that occur out of the blue and can lead to physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. This can make concentration and decision-making difficult.
  • Higher sensitivity. Triggers such as sirens, loud noises, or other reminders of prior traumas can create heightened anxiety.
 
Danger Signals
 
Seek professional help if these symptoms persist:
 
  • Thinking about suicide or self-harm
  • Being alone too much
  • Not being able to talk to other people about what you are feeling
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Continued trouble sleeping
  • Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping too much, or trouble relaxing
  • Using too much alcohol or other drugs, including prescription drugs
 
 
Voices of September 11th COVID-19 Tip Sheets
 
Mental Health Considerations Relating to the COVID-19 Outbreak: Seeking Professional Help
 
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals may experience fear and anxiety due to the unpredictability of the spread of the virus internationally.
 

It is normal to experience anxiety, fear, deep sadness, and even nightmares after a traumatic event. If these symptoms do not seem to be getting better after several weeks, it may be time to seek mental health profes-sional. Only a mental health professional can diagnose conditions like PTSD, depression, or anxiety, but it is important for you to be aware of what to watch for, so you know when to seek professional help.


 
When to Seek Professional Help
 
Recognizing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
 
Seek professional help if these symptoms persist for more than one month:
 
  • Recurring intrusive, distressing memories of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares of the trauma
  • Increased arousal and feeling on edge, including in-ability to sleep, concentrate, or function normally
  • Persistent avoidance of all reminders of the trauman Feeling detached
  • Persistent feelings of anger, fear, guilt, horror, or shame
 
Recognizing Major Depression
 
Seek professional help if the symptoms below persist for more than two weeks, or if you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm:
 
  • Sad mood almost all day, every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Marked changes in appetite and weight
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Poor concentration, inability to think, or indecisiveness
 
Recognizing Anxiety Disorders
 
Many types of anxiety disorders could develop or be made worse by traumatic events, such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias.Talk to a mental health professional if any of the following symptoms persist or become troublesome:
 
  • Excessive worry
  • Irritability or outbursts
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
 
Recognizing Panic Attacks
 
Many panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. Talk to a mental health professional if any of the following panic attack symptoms persist or become troublesome:
 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations or shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Feelings of being out of control
 
Need to Talk to Someone?
 
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline
Phone: 1-800-985-5990
 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
 
National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
Phone: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY
 
For More Information visit Voices of September 11th
 

 
VOICES Support - Phone: 203-966-3911; Email: VoicesSupport@voicesofsept11.org
 
VOICES Mission - To provide long-term support services, resources, and access to mental health care for 9/11 victims' families, responders, and survivors, while leveraging our expertise to assist communities in their response and long-term recovery from acts of terrorism, mass violence, and other tragedies.
 
If you are not currently registered with VOICES, and would like updates on VOICES COVID-19 Response, Register Here.
 
 
 
 

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