Southcoast Health Offers Resources to Observe Stress Awareness & Counseling Awareness Month
The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing stress and anxiety, as many fear they and their loved ones will catch the virus while also facing uncertainty about how the crisis will affect us economically and socially. Now, it’s more important than ever to have the knowledge and support to cope with feelings of worry and panic amid COVID-19.
April is Stress Awareness Month.
When things feel unfamiliar or when we don’t feel safe, stress levels rise. Lately, many of us are anxious about COVID-19 and its impact. We may feel helpless about the future in the wake of recent events. But we are not powerless. How we respond to stressful circumstances is our choice. The CDC provides some helpful tips if you are struggling with stress in the face of uncertainty.
Ways to cope with stress
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body
- Take deep breaths, stretch, and/or meditate.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind by trying to do some activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others by talking with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
We are in this together, and support is available. If you’re feeling emotionally isolated and struggling, you may also consider seeking mental health counseling. Please ask your provider for help.
April is also Counseling Awareness Month.
In these kinds of situations, counselors play a critical role. Although social distancing limits the public’s ability to have in-person appointments, many mental health professionals are offering telehealth options during this time.
According to the American Counseling Association, “Telebehavioral health, or distance counseling, is the use of a digital platform that provides secure, encrypted, audio-video conferencing to communicate with a client in real-time.”
For telebehavioral health options and resources, please visit Mass.gov or Health.ri.gov.
We also encourage you to speak with your Southcoast Health primary care provider (PCP) to recommend an appropriate mental health specialist. Depending upon how your insurance works, it may be necessary to see your PCP first in order to obtain a referral to a more specialized mental health care provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Make an appointment to speak with your Southcoast PCP through MyChart or by calling their office.
To confirm if your physician is part of Southcoast Physicians Group, use the “Find a Doc” search tool to search all Southcoast Physicians Group providers: http://www.mysouthcoasthealth.org. If your physician is not part of Southcoast Physicians Group, and you would like to switch providers, you can use the Find a Doc tool or call 800-497-1727.