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How to cope with the many traumas of COVID-19

The pandemic presents unique challenges to emotional and behavioral health. You’re not alone and help is available.

Sickness and economic setbacks are not the only high costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear daily from people who are struggling with the stress of 2020.

Children are attending school remotely for now, losing out on important social and emotional learning. Parents and caregivers are in a new role of teacher—helping children learn while working from home or juggling other job responsibilities. Many families face economic despair. Business owners are adjusting to changing requirements while trying to stay afloat. Some businesses are closing their doors. And all of this comes against a backdrop of demonstrations against racism and the political tension of an election year.

Long before the pandemic, our work focused on people now hit hardest by it. We know social, environmental and economic stability are the most important factors in your health. That’s why we work to:

You are not alone. Behavioral health is critically important for all of us right now. Things like substance use disorder and need for mental health supports often increase during stressful times. 

Thoughts of suicide can occur when someone has overwhelming emotions or feelings.  One way you can help prevent death by suicide is to secure firearms and medications in your home. You can also encourage loved ones to seek professional help for stress and anxiety. We can all work together to provide hope for a better, healthier future.

It might help to remember your mind and emotions are suffering several different traumas right now.

You are coping with grief and loss.

Grief can be a response to the loss of life. But now, you might also be grieving the loss of normal daily life, physical touch, special events, school, your job or business, or even going to the movies or a sporting event!

It’s OK to feel a sense of loss as you struggle to find a new normal. Life is difficult to navigate now, especially when it comes to your emotions. Powerless feelings can increase anxiety, depression and anger.

You might be struggling to find your sense of self.

When you grieve the things you’re missing in your daily life, you can also lose your sense of self and identity. 

Social isolation can lead to fear and frustration. It’s important to maintain social connections while keeping in mind social distancing and face coverings. You can do this when you:

  • Call or text to check on loved ones.
  • Enjoy a walk in the park.
  • Participate in a video chat.

You can reclaim control by being mindful.

Negative thoughts can throw you off balance. Social media, news and other media can weigh heavy on your mind.

Take a break. Know your signals. Not-so-obvious signals might include online shopping or excessive eating when you’re not hungry. 

You can reclaim control:

  • Think about what you can control. Maybe it’s something simple, like watching a special TV show.
  • Focus on resiliency and flexibility.
  • Mind your health. Use FREE metal health services like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or WA Listens.
  • Develop a new sense of purpose.
  • Focus on hope. Things will get better in time.



How you can get help.

Emergency medical services Call 911
 Crisis Line (800) 273-8255 (Veterans, press 1) 
 Text 741741, then hit “Send.”
 Suicide Lifeline (800) 273-8255 (TALK)
 Safer homes, suicide aware Click here.
 Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860
 Trevor Project (LGBTQ) (866) 488-7386
 Addiction recovery (866) 789-1511
 Treatment referral (877) 726-4727



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