Coping with Stress During and Infectious Outbreak

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty about the disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Knowing the signs and helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

KNOW THE SIGNS

YOUR BEHAVIOR:

  • An increase or decrease in your energy and activity levels
  • An increase in your alcohol, tobacco use, or use of illegal drugs
  • An increase in irritability, with outbursts of anger and frequent arguing
  • Having trouble relaxing or sleeping
  • Crying frequently
  • Worrying excessively

YOUR BODY:

  • Having stomachaches or diarrhea
  • Having headaches and other pains
  • Losing your appetite or eating too much
  • Sweating or having chills
  • Getting tremors or muscle twitches
  • Being easily startled

YOUR EMOTIONS:

  • Being anxious or fearful
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling heroic, euphoric, or invulnerable
  • Not caring about anything
  • Feeling overwhelmed by sadness

YOUR THINKING:

  • Having trouble remembering things
  • Feeling confused
  • Having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating
  • Having difficulty making decisions

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • 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.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call
    • 911
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517).

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Manage Anxiety & Stress

Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Helping Children Cope with Emergencies

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Guidance for Opioid Treatment Programs and MAT during COVID-19 Outbreak

SHINE - Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety 

Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Phone Numbers
General Public Health Inquiries and 24-hour Emergency Contact: 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
Location
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,
OR
97051

Monday - Friday
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Administrator
Michael Paul