losing it in lockdown

There are a few  suggestions for coping with COVID19 related anxiety, mild depression or stress from weeks of being on lockdown from the trained mental health counselors of Crisis Text Line. CTL is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis.  

Remember, even in Isolation, you’re not alone.  

On the next edition of #RepresentNYC, Crisis Text Line's Ashley Womble discusses how people who are struggling with with anxiety during the #coronavirus pandemic can reach out for help. Watch this Sunday May 10th at 7pm on MNN1 or MNNHD.

CTL is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. You can text 'Crisis' or 'HOME' to 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.  24/7 support is at your fingertips.

Here are some ways to prioritize your mental health if you’re feeling anxious and lonely:

Reach out for help. Our Crisis Counselors are available to help you move from a hot moment to cool and calm totally free, 24/7. Our model has always leveraged kind, empathetic people with a WiFi connection from the comfort of their own home. We’re here. We’re ready. We were made for this. And, most importantly, your feelings are valid. You deserve kindness. We’re here to help. Text CRISIS or HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. Here is how it works:

  1. Crisis doesn’t just mean thinking about ending your own life.  It’s any painful emotion and anytime you need support.  Text  741741. Your opening message can say anything. Keywords like"CRISIS",  “HOME,” “START” and “HELLO” just help us identify how people hear about us.

  2. The first two responses are automated. They tell you that you’re being connected with a Crisis Counselor and invite you to share a bit more. The Crisis Counselor is a trained volunteer, not a professional. They can provide support, but not medical advice. 

  3. It usually takes less than five minutes to connect you with a Crisis Counselor. (It may take longer during high-traffic times). When you’ve reached a Crisis Counselor, they’ll introduce themselves, reflect on what you’ve said, and invite you to share at your own pace.

  4. You’ll then text back and forth with the Crisis Counselor. You never have to share anything you don’t want to. The goal of any conversation is to get you to a calm, safe place. Sometimes that means providing you with a referral to further help, and sometimes it just means being there and listening. A conversation usually lasts anywhere from 15-45 minutes.

Here are some other ways to prioritize your mental health if you’re feeling anxious and lonely:

Get some fresh air. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside as long as you keep a distance from anyone who isn’t part of your family. Go for a walk! Take a hike! Do some outdoor yoga! The natural world is your oyster. Dive in.

Prioritize mental check-ins. Now is the time to pick up meditation, start writing in a journal, or yoga, don't be afraid to use popular apps to tap into some mindfulness techniques.  

Connect. Skip the scrolling and make your time online intentional. If you’re used to working in an office and are suddenly working from home full-time, chances are you’re missing one of the best parts of work—friends. Instead of diving right into virtual meetings, spend some time catching up and checking in on each other. Schedule virtual hangouts with your pals. Take your usual lunchtime and get on a group FaceTime. Or, if you’re still in school and studying from home, set up a virtual study session to cheer each other on as you go.

Turn off those notifications. When you’re stuck at home all day in times like these, it can be easy to get sucked into an endless hole of news updates. Schedule a few dedicated times throughout the day to check in with the news and get the most important updates. No need for the minute-by-minute play-by-play of COVID-19 happenings to make you spiral.

StudentsStay on track. 
Even if school every day can be the worst, finding out it’s canceled for the rest of the year is an entirely different story. That means no more learning, seeing friends, or special traditions like prom or graduation. There’s no sugar coating it—that sucks.  The best you can keep up with your learning. Not only is focusing on school a great break from focusing on what’s going on in the world, it’s also a way to progress in your life while everything else seems like it’s on pause.

Stick to a schedule. Get up. Get dressed. Take a shower. Feed yourself. Sounds basic, but it will make a world of difference.

Students make sure you have what you need. A lot of students rely on school for many of their meals. If you normally participate in a free or reduced lunch program, make sure to check in with your school administrators to make sure you can still get food during this time.

Put the social in social media. Forget posting for likes or making the best content. Use social media to connect with the people you miss seeing every day.

Parents, Remember we are all doing our best. 
School closures have really thrown a wrench in everyone’s lives. Many parents rely on schools and daycare so that they can get to work to support their families. With kids stuck at home, many parents are forced to homeschool their kids while also keeping up with work remotely. Nothing about it is easy—in fact, it’s really hard shit. Here are a few ways to keep your mental health in check. Just remember you are not alone, a lot of people are going through the same thing. Don't be afraid to ask other parents what they are doing to cope.  

Families should stick to a routine. This one can be hard considering everything about your routine has been flipped on its head… Still, maintaining some sort of schedule can be helpful to create a bit of normalcy in this unexpected and anxiety-inducing situation.

Collaborate. If you have a partner who is also working from home, try alternating shifts of who is looking after the kids. And, communicate your needs to your team! Everyone has to be a little flexible right now—even your coworker who needs to pivot so you can take care of your family.

Flexibility. Parents need time to focus on themselves too, so scrap those electronics limits!

Be kind. Seems simple, but for real: you deserve kindness. From yourself. From your family. From your kids. From your coworkers. You’re doing the best you can. 

New York also has help available!

NYC Well website offers a number of well-being and emotional support applications (apps) that can help you cope. You can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

  • Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)
  • Text "WELL" to 65173
  • Chat at NYC.gov/nycwell

It is recommended that If you experience significant changes in your energy level, eating patterns, or sleeping patterns, difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, prolonged and overwhelming worry and hopelessness, or thoughts of self-injury or suicide, seek out immediate help at 1- 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Got5 to 741741.

NYS COVID Emotional Support Helpline has launched with more than 10,000 volunteer therapists.  

New York State residents who could benefit from mental health support, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 is staffed 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week. The phone line is staffed with specially trained volunteer professionals who are there to listen, support and refer if needed. For individuals in crisis, the Putnam County Crisis Hotline remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days each week and can be reached at 845-225-1222, and the National Suicide Prevention Talkline continues at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7, with special supports for Veterans by pressing 1 after dialing.

Read more about dealing with pandemic anxiety here: https://www.mnn.org/blog/covid-19-pandemic-anxiety