Depending on the severity, spread, and duration of an infectious disease outbreak, you may experience varying degrees of stress. Stress is a natural response when we perceive that we, our loved ones, and our way of life are threatened, regardless of the actual immediate danger.
The current necessity for:
adds layers of discomfort and disorientation to an already troubling situation. Many people feel lost, confused, and powerless to care for their families.
To help Americans cope with the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a fact sheet of practical steps you can implement immediately.*
Effects of Stress
Stress can manifest in a variety of ways, which may include:
When to Act Immediately
Some people, when they learn of an outbreak, may experience extreme distress. They may think apocalyptic thoughts, experience terror and helplessness, and even lose hope. They may feel suicidal, talk about suicide or death, and/or threaten to harm themselves or others.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, immediately contact one of the following:
Steps to Reduce Stress
When an overload of negative external information becomes overwhelming, we can manage the resulting stress with mindful awareness of our own internal experience. This can help us to respond in ways that are healing for ourselves and our loved ones, such as:
For more information, read the entire fact sheet at SAMHSA.gov.
*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services. (2014, October). Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks [Fact Sheet].
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