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How to manage the stressors surrounding coronavirus concerns

Posted: 7:42 PM, Mar 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-11 19:42:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The coronavirus is impacting not just people's physical health, but mental health as well.

Whether you feel informed or inundated, some on social media say it's stressing them out.

Stephen Sardelis, 211 Big Bend's a.m. hotline supervisor, shed light on maintaining positive mental health and avoiding COVID-19 information overload.

What is 211's role in times of disaster/pandemic?

Stephen: 211 provides 24/7 short term crisis counseling and referral to social services. We also stay up to date on pertinent disaster information. Such as, open emergency shelters in times of hurricanes, where to get sandbags when storms are expected to hit, and how to donate to relief services in the time after a disaster.

People are worried about coronavirus impacting their lives, from vacations, school, work, etc. What are some things people can do, who are worried about the virus right now?

Stephen: The first thing people can do is to follow the CDC guidelines.

  • Wash your hands,
  • avoid large crowds of people, and
  • stay home if you're sick.

The second thing to do that is equally important, is to not panic. We should be taking this virus seriously, but we should stay reserved and make sure we are correctly informed.

How can people identify and deal with stress caused by the coronavirus?

Stephen: It's important to be bale to take a moment and slow down and identify if you are feeling stressed. When you're going through the hustle and bustle of daily life, trying to make your way through the news and what's going on around you, it can be hard to recognize when that is happening. If you're feeling overly irritable, or notice how much more tired you are despite how much rest you're getting. Those can be some quick signs that you're feeling over-stressed.

Fear is a natural instinct when it comes to viral outbreaks, like coronavirus, so how can we give ourselves peace of mind?

Stephen: Staying up to date on what's going on, but staying calm.

What kind of help and information are counselors prepared to give?

Stephen: Counselors are prepared to review the CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus as well as what to do if they are sick. They can call us, or reach out to friends and family. We try to give them the space they might need to talk about whatever their concerns might be and unwind from some of the anxiety and stress that comes along with this time.

We're seeing stores running out of supplies. When does it go from being prepared to being obsessive?

Stephen: As far as preparation goes, if you have the basics at home, as far as keeping your own home sanitary, you might not need more than that. For instance, you might not need to buy several packets of Clorox wipes. You might not need to buy 20 cartons of water. It's important to recognize that other people with other medical problems will sometimes need those materials too.

The 211 hotline and counselors are availabel 24/7.