Ways of Coping with Stress and Improving Mental Health
Since the beginning of Covid-19, we have all faced challenges that were unknown to us and our generation. The effects of the pandemic have abounded and impacted our mental health. Stress, discomfort, sadness, and anxiety are common feelings we all have shared as a result of such an impactful event. Remember that these feelings are natural and that you are not alone.
It is important that we cope with stress in a healthy way and there are numerous startegies to accomplish this goal:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories
- Care for our bodies (meditation, healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, or substance use, routine preventive measures (vaccinations, cancer screenings, or directions from your healthcare provider), and getting a Covid-19 vaccine)
- Dedicating time to unwind (hobbies, reading, listening to your favorite music)
- Connecting with loved ones and friends (Share your concerns and feelings with those you care about)
- Connecting with organizations in your community (volunteer groups, faith-based groups, clubs of people with similar interests)
Mental Health Resources for Those Experiencing Distress
If you feel that you need extra support for emotional support & mental health, these resources are available to help people who may be experiencing distress or heightened anxiety right now:
24/7 Behavioral Health Recovery Services Access Line: (888) 818-1115
- 24/7 Crisis Stabilization Unit: (415) 473-6666
- 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255;
Linea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio (en Espanol): (888) 628-9454
- If you are experiencing an emergency please call 911 immediately
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 (TTY 800-846-8517) or text TalkWithUs to 66746 for 24/7 support.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 crisis support.
- California Suicide & Crisis Hotlines: Find phone numbers and links to all the suicide and crisis hotlines by county in California.
- California Peer-Run Warm Line: Call 1-855-845-7415 for 24/7 non-emergency support.
- The Friendship Line is available 24/7 as a crisis helpline for older adults: 800-971-0016 or you can text HOME to 741741 if you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis. A crisis worker will text you back immediately if you prefer text over the phone. This is a free service.
- Mobile Crisis Team: (415) 473-6392
Please visit the CDC website for more information on how to cope with stress related to COVID-19.
Source: adapted from CDC.gov
What volunteer opportunities are there?
All volunteer needs will be posted to the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership website and updated as needs arise. We strongly encourage you to volunteer with existing organizations and activities.
Also, you can help by joining the California Volunteers Resources which has been an effective means of serving the community during the pandemic and also now that the state has reopened.
Where can I make a donation?
If you wish to help. consider donating to Marin Community Foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The COVID-19 Relief Fun has been used to soften the social and economic impacts of the pandemic with five main efforts:
- Emergency rental assistance for low-income residents
- Expanded food for economically disadvantaged families
- Expanded meals for seniors
- Wi-Fi mobile access for economically disadvantaged students
- Emergency childcare for health care workers and emergency responders
Is it possible to donate blood?
Yes, blood banks, blood donation centers, and blood drives are available. If you are healthy and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you are encouraged to donate. The need for adequate blood donations from healthy people is critical. The pandemic has negatively impacted blood supply, so donations are welcomed.
Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Often, stigma arises when people become worried or anxious. As a result, they sometimes look for reasons they believe cause their worries. For example, during the pandemic, there have been ongoing reports of stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. Some people in the U.S. may have been concerned about people who were living in or visiting areas where outbreaks had occurred. Others may have reacted negatively towards those who needed to be in quarantine or isolation.
Stopping the Stigma of Covid-19
Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. In order to combat stigma, learn the facts about COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
People can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.
Being aware of our intentions when speaking about COVID-19, promoting thoughtful communication, and practicing empathy are keys to reducing social stigma.
Stigma Towards Masking and Vaccinations
As the pandemic response has progressed there has been a stigma towards those who did not want to wear masks and who don't want to get vaccinated. As of June 15th, Marin is now aligned with the state's guidelines and masking rules have been relaxed. People have a choice to wear masks or not wear masks, except in public indoor spaces, depending on their vaccination status. On August 2, Marin County joined various other Bay Area counties in requiring the use of masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. This mandate for an increase in mask-use was received both positively and negatively by the community. There still exists stigma towards those who choose to wear masks even in spaces where it's not required and also against those who refuse their use. Additionally, there exists a myriad of perspectives towards receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. We can stop this stigma by offering support for each person's choice, becoming more informed about masking/vaccination facts, and making an effort to understand why they feel the way they do. Offering empathy towards those around us and being aware that each individual's pandemic experience has been unique can help create bridges with those who have differing perspectives.
Please visit the CDC website for more information on how to stop stigma related to COVID-19.
Source: adapted from CDC.gov
We understand the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 on our community.
Below are some other resources available for you and your family:
Marin Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Assistance Programs:
· CalWORKS: Cash assistance for food purchases for families and individuals;
· Medi-Cal: medical care through Medi-Cal and County Medical Services Program;
· General Relief: Cash Assistance for individuals over 18 with no children and with no or limited resources;
· Women, Infants and Children (WIC): supplemental food and nutrition program low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and children under age 5 who have a nutritional risk.
· For information on resources and services specifically for older adults (persons 60+), persons with disabilities and family caregivers, call (415) 473-INFO (415.473.4636) or email 473-INFO@marincounty.org(link sends e-mail).
To apply for Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh, and WIC you can:
· Call 1.877.410.8817;
· Apply online at BenefitsCal.com; or
· Pick up a paper application in person outside at 120 N. Redwood Dr. San Rafael, CA and at the Marin County Health and Wellness Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd. San Rafael, CA 94901. Spanish and English copies are both available.
· WIC applications are accepted over the phone by calling 415.473.6889. General Relief applications can be obtained at the locations noted above or by calling 415.473.3350. Also visit HHS’ online Community Resource Guide, for local information on programs/services available to help with money, legal, housing and more. Lastly, if you are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness, visit Homelessness Resource Guide, which includes a comprehensive list of resources. Residents can search for their nearest food pantry or emergency food distribution location using San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s Food Locator App. For those that cannot access the app, information on food resources for older adults (age 60+) and persons with disabilities can be obtained by email 473-INFO@marincounty.org or by calling 415.473.INFO (415.473.4636). All others can call 211 to get connected to this information.