Mental Health and Social Isolation During Stay Home, Stay Healthy
One of the most important ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and physically distance ourselves from others. Unfortunately, this method of containing the spread of the virus has had some unintended consequences. Staying home and away from other people can increase feelings of social isolation. When isolation becomes loneliness, people are at an increased risk of many common diseases in modern society, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, dementia, and other chronic conditions. A reality of COVID-19 is that just when we need each other more, we’re being forced apart.
Combating social isolation and loneliness falls on all of our shoulders. If you are experiencing increased feelings of loneliness or despair, there are some things you can do to try to feel less alone. If you are concerned about a loved one, you can find ways to support those who are socially isolated, and help prevent feelings of loneliness from deepening.
How you can cope with loneliness while socially isolating:
If your feelings of loneliness continue to deepen, contact a mental healthcare professional. You can also contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline, which provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Contact them at (800) 985-5990, text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
More mental health resources can be found on the Whatcom Unified Command website.
How you can help others who may be having feelings of loneliness
COVID-19 is testing the bonds that connect us. Physical distancing measures protect us from the worst effects of coronavirus, but the consequences can also be harmful. If we make the effort to stay connected, we can make a big difference to people who are feeling alone right now.