Social Distancing and Mental Health

We need each other. Being isolated from other people can make our physical and mental health worse and can especially trigger anxiety and depression. Especially if you live alone, social distancing is hard on our bodies and our emotions. And when we add to that the worries about unknowns—will I get sick? Will someone I love get sick? What will happen to my job?—we layer on additional stresses to our physical and mental health. If you find yourself lonely, stressed, or anxious, pay attention to these emotions and take action:

  1. Avoid watching, reading, or listening to news reports that cause you to feel anxious or distressed. A near-constant stream of news reports is not calming. Seek out information from reliable sources like the Washington State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just a couple times a day. Fact check what you see on social media. Spread good information.
  2. Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks. Go for a walk and wave to your neighbors from six feet away. Ask them if they are well and if they need anything.
  3. Introduce structure into your day. Structure and routine may be helpful for people with mental health vulnerabilities, especially during times of uncertainty. Even if you are working from home or if your life looks completely different right now, try to maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible. Maybe we’ll feel better if we shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast.
  4. Check out these resources to help support your mental health or that of a loved one:

And if you are in crisis, don’t hesitate to call the 24-Hour Crisis Line at 866-427-4747 or text HEAL to 741741 to get confidential text access to a trained crisis counselor any time of the day or night.

Remember, you can find great information on the state’s new web portal for information about COVID-19 (coronavirus.wa.gov), on the Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov), or on the CDC website (www.cdc.gov). Or you can call our COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and press #, or email us at [email protected].

Practice compassion. Staying away from other people is not good for us. It doesn’t make any sense except in the light of the compassion we have for our loved ones and communities. Stay at home to protect the people you love.

Stay home and stay healthy!