One of the silver linings of COVID-19 is the spotlight that has been shone on the need for more and better mental health resources. The World Health Organization and National Institute of Health have developed guidelines and research has highlighted the need to provide mental health responses in a pandemic.
Not all mental health symptoms are evidence of illness, but can be normal responses to an abnormal event. A world-wide pandemic is an abnormal, traumatic event. Our bodies can respond to this traumatic event by getting ready to fight, flee, freeze or attend. Trauma research has proven that in addition to fight or flee, this sudden shift in our sense of safety can make us freeze (which can look and feel like depression) or the intense need to connect with others (attend). It helps to know that we are all in this together.
Check out these suggestions to weather the pandemic:
Be kind to yourself. Don't judge. Notice your feelings and don't judge them. Feelings are not good or bad, they just are. Start a journal of your experiences. Experts believe journaling is a great way to get some relief. Get the ruminating thoughts out of your brain and down on paper.
Take control where you can. In what feels like an out-of-control situation, it is important to take control over even the small things. This means setting a daily routine and sticking to it. Get up, get dressed, take a walk, breathe outside air, clean out a closet ... any constructive activity where you have control over the beginning, middle and end.
Go on media diet. Limit your news and social media intake to a few minutes twice a day. Listening over and over to the same scary stories just makes us more anxious. Often these are the same stories repeated multiple times and do not reflect what is truly happening.
All WCC students are encouraged to take advantage of the mental health assistance available to them. A list of those resources is available on the WCC Personal Counseling webpage. Students can also download the WellTrack app and register with their WCC email address. That tool is designed to help students understand their mental health and provide the help needed.
Employees can find Employee Assistance Program information and other mental well-being information under the Human Resources > Wellness & Safety tabs on Blackboard.