COVID-19 Information

Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices during an emergency.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable in an emergency. Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior in a way that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day. These conditions may be situational (short-term) or long-lasting (chronic). People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. If you think you have new or worse symptoms, call your healthcare provider.

Source: CDC

Mental Health and COVID-19

Appleseed's Executive Director, Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCC-S, "Mental Health Minutes" addresses various topics on how to improve your mental health. Click on the topics below to listen to tips on how you work towards improving your mental health today. Tune in to iheartradio's 107.7 The BreezeY105, and WMAN for more Mental Health Minutes with Dr. Jerry Strausbaugh! Click here for more Mental Health Minute recordings. 

Healthy ways to cope with stress

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

Source: CDC

Covid-19 Approaches for rural residents

  • The best way to prevent becoming sick is to avoid being exposed to the virus. This means staying home whenever possible and avoiding public places where you may encounter many other people. If you are near other people, try to keep 6 feet apart (about two arm lengths).
  • Use masks and other COVID-19 prevention behaviors to limit exposure to the virus.
  • Know how to contact a healthcare provider if you or a family member becomes ill.
  • Keep preventive care and other routine healthcare appointments, such as vaccinations and blood pressure checks, when possible. Check with your provider about safety precautions for office visits.
  • Volunteer by contacting community service organizations and ask how you can help.
    • Make and distribute masks for others in the community.
    • Help older adults, people with disabilities, and others at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, in your family or in the community, by shopping for groceries or running errands.
  • Create an information card with the phone numbers and addresses of healthcare facilities, along with the family and friends who live nearest to you.
    • Locate state, local, or tribal health centers in advance to learn where to get tested for COVID-19, along with other COVID-19 health information.
  • Create a phone tree system with family, friends, and neighbors that will be helpful to share information and get messages out quickly if COVID-19 affects your community.
  • Know medicines your family members may need and see if you can have extra on hand to reduce visits to the pharmacist while COVID-19 is circulating in the community.
    • Many health insurance plans now allow for early access to prescriptions, for more than a 90-day supply of medication.
  • Find ways that you and your family can cope with stress.

Source: CDC

Tips to Manage Stress & Anxiety for Parents & Children

Common Sense Media has an abundance of resources for de-stressing, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests numerous ways to manage stress and anxiety. Knowing the facts and the actual risks can help reduce stress in yourself and others. Take time to have conversations with your kids about their questions, concerns, or fears. Follow healthcare guidelines to model preventative care, and follow these tips and strategies to help structure your day:

Temper your expectations, and be kind to yourself—Remember, most of us were not prepared for this. Anxiety, fear, worry, and grief—these are all NORMAL reactions to abnormal circumstances. Laundry piles, dirty dishes, messy rooms—do what you can. And while we always suggest monitoring the use of children’s screen time, both how much and what they are watching, this may be a time where children have more screen time than they are accustomed to. Just make sure that your children are practicing safe online behavior. Here are some tips.

Embrace a rigid state of flexibility—Most children of all ages thrive when they have predictable routines. If your children are pre-school age or older, have them participate in the development of a daily schedule. When (not “if”) the schedule gets derailed, see Tip 1 above!

Find ways to stay informed—There is a constant barrage of information regarding COVID-19, and it is challenging to know what to think. Find trusted sources and limit your exposure to this material. Social media can be a major source of social support, but can also create feelings of fear, panic, and, for some, feelings of inadequacy. If seeing pictures of well-organized kitchen tables, Pinterest boards of fun activities, from those who you perceive “have it all put together,” are causing you distress, reconsider your relationship with social media for the time being. Talk with people you trust about your concerns about how you are feeling.

See the world through your children’s eyes—Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?  Do you remember how boring it was to watch the news?  Do you remember how cool it was when your parents did spontaneous things with you?

  • Roast marshmallows on the bbq
  • Go “camping” in the living room
  • Make a pillow fort
  • Create a nature scavenger hunt

Learning can be fun—With uncertainty about the return to school, many parents are fretting about the potential loss of academics for their children. Fortunately, daily activities carry immense opportunity for learning:

  • Cooking teaches science and math
  • Yard work teaches about nature and can inspire creative art projects
  • Reading together enriches vocabulary and listening skills

Take care of your body—Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Source: Prevent Child Abuse America

Trans People and COVID-19

COVID-19, also referred to as novel coronavirus, is a new virus, and there is still much to learn about the severity of this outbreak. However, we know that transgender people and their families may have a lot of questions about how they can properly face this public health threat.

We want trans people and their families to stay safe—both from the virus and from any unique problems we may face with this new virus.

It is important for trans people to be prepared for obstacles if an outbreak happens in their communities. NCTE urges everyone to put together a plan of action that not only takes into account basic health needs, but also your specific needs as a trans person.

Transgender people must be aware of the particular risk for the coronavirus because of the several factors:

  • LGBTQ people have higher rates of HIV and cancer, and therefore may have a compromised immune system. According to NCTE’s 2015 US Trans Survey, trans people are five times more likely to be living with HIV compared to the general population.
  • LGBTQ people also use tobacco at a rate of 50% higher than the general population. The coronavirus is a respiratory illness that could be especially harmful to smokers.

Trans adults are also more likely to score their health as poor or fair compare to the general population. More than 1 out 5 transgender adults have at least one or more chronic condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, or asthma. Fear of discrimination keeps many of us from going to the doctor. This may impact the potential novel coronavirus effect on us in three ways:

  • Stigma and discrimination makes transgender people reluctant to get help.
  • Access to health care barriers, such as lack of insurance, leaves us less likely to get medical care.
  • Existing health conditions mean more of us live in a state of compromised health.

Click on the links below for additional resources and information:

Create a Plan of Action

Important Resources 

Mutual Aid and Emergency Funds


Source: National Center for Transgender Equality

Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks



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