A message from our Mental Health Co-Responder Brynne Haverkamp about navigating through the mental health challenges associated with COVID-19:

With all of the recent changes going on it is important to make sure that you are continuing to take care of your own mental health and recognizing the needs of those around you.

So many things have been canceled and a lot of big moments will no longer be had; high school and college graduations, prom, sporting events, etc. Children who no longer have their friends at school, High School and college Seniors who no longer get to participate in this rite of passage, older adults who are worried about health and safety, families who are concerned with multiple stressors regarding finances, daycare, children being home, etc.

For those that are still working- constant stress about getting ill or bringing those illnesses home to their families and friends. We are all feeling the changes that are occurring around us. We are isolating ourselves, using precautions, and practicing physical distancing to keep each other physically safe, as we should.

However we need to recognize that this is not always easy for some and it is important for us as a community to continue to come together to support each other. (Not physically! But Socially!) We may not be able to spend time with friends and loved ones, get out of the house and into the community, or do most of the things we used to do to keep ourselves mentally healthy. This is why we need to be able to recognize when we need to reach out for additional support not just for ourselves but those we recognize this in as well.

Continue to check in on your friends, family, co-workers through phone calls, text, face-time, and social media. Just because we are physically isolated does not mean we have to socially isolate ourselves from one another too.

* Recognize when you need a break- take a walk, practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation to decrease anxiety.

* Teach these things to each other as a couple or family.

* Have a friend or family member watch your kiddos for a few minutes so you can have some time to take care of you.

* Recognize that all of us are under a new kind of stress most have never experienced before, give each other time to adjust.

When things become to much and you need some additional support-

* Many private practice therapy offices are working to provide tele-therapy options that can be done without having to go into an office.

* Utilize 24/7 Crisis services at the Pawnee Crisis Stabilization Center at 1558 Hayes Drive

If experiencing any symptoms-

* Pawnee 24/7 Crisis Line- 1-800-609-2002

* National Crisis Text Line- Text HOME to 741741

* National Suicide Hotline- 1-800-273-8255

As always- if someone is in immediate danger to themselves or someone else, call 911.