Originally Published on unitedwaybroward.org

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for our community, and some may find it difficult to cope. There are ways you can boost your mental wellness, even while practicing social distancing!
 

STRESS REDUCTION TECHNIQUES

  • Take a break!  Schedule time when you will refrain from watching, reading, or listening to the news, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.  Tip:  Set timers on your phone or ask Alexa to remind you to take a break.
  • Move!  You may be stuck inside, so be intentional about staying active. Try taking deep breaths while stretching, completing a home workout video, dancing, or taking a walk outside.  Try to get some sunlight and fresh air when you can.  Tip: You can find free instructional exercise, dance, or stretching videos on YouTube.  
  • Nourish yourself!  Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals; get plenty of sleep, and avoid using alcohol and drugs.  Tip:  Broward County Public Schools has established meal distribution sites for students and their families.  There are also food pantries across the county that can help in providing fresh food. 
  • Relax!  Make time to unwind.  Work and leisure can easily become blurred if you are working or learning from home.  Try to do some other activities you enjoy, such as arts, writing, listening to music, or playing a game.  Tip: This could be a great time to start a book you’ve been wanting to read or catch up on your favorite magazines.  Music that brings you happy thoughts while you close your eyes and mindfully relaxes is a great option.  Find free music on YouTube and Pandora. 
  • Stay in touch!  Connect with others online or use your phone to call, text, or video chat. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.  Tip:  You can learn to do almost anything online!  Check out this video on how to use Facetime, a video chat function for iPhones.  
  • Ask for help!  Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.  Tip: Most health insurance agencies offer virtual visits, often for the same or lower cost than a traditional visit. 

POPULATIONS VULNERABLE TO MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Some people may be at a higher risk for mental health issues or suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You might want to pay extra attention and seek help if you or a loved one is: 

  • Experiencing financial instability.  Loss or reduction of income is stressful, including uncertainty of future financial stability. 
  • Elderly. In Broward County, older adults are at the highest risk for suicide. People can become especially hopeless while isolated.
  • Experiencing mental illness.  A pre-existing mental health condition could be exasperated during times of stress.  Continue your treatment as best as possible and reach out to your mental health provider should you develop new or worsening symptoms. 
  • Using substances.  Drug or alcohol use can increase during times of stress.  Those in recovery may find it more difficult to cope. 

SUICIDE PREVENTION DURING COVID-10

Some may find the stress of COVID-19 overwhelming and may be at risk for suicide.  If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, please reach out for support now:

(If you are worried about the immediate safety of yourself or a loved one, 
please dial 9-1-1 immediately)

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS

Although suicide does not have one single cause or predictor, there are warning signs you can look for:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself or gathering necessary materials
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

For more information about suicide warning signs and risk factors, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 
 

FIREARM SAFETY DURING A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

In Broward County, most people who die by suicide use a firearm.  If you are worried about a loved one, consider talking to them about safe firearm storage during their mental health crisis. 

Click here for tips for talking to a loved one about firearm safety during a mental health crisis and tips for safe firearm storage if you are thinking about suicide 

RESOURCES

Crisis Hotlines:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  Call 1-800-273-8255 or Chat Online Now
  • Crisis Text Line:  Text “HOME” to 741741
  • 211 Broward:  Dial 2-1-1 from your phone
  • The Trevor Project (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386 OR Text “START” to 678678
  • Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 OR Text 838255
  • Options for Deaf & Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline:  1-800-799-7233
  • Women in Distress 24 hours Crisis Hotline: 954-761-1133 (TTY/TDD 954-527-5385)  


Other Resources: