Oklahoma Mental Health Experts Says COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Many

Wednesday, April 29th 2020, 5:32 pm
By: Mallory Thomas

As businesses get ready to open their businesses again, employees have questions about how they can stay safe while working in the office again.

Mental health experts said employees should take precautions and continue to physical distance at work.

They said since the pandemic began, they've seen an increase of calls from people struggling with mental health.

“Just everybody. I don’t care who you are. This is an equal opportunity mental health impact," said Mike Brose, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma’s chief empowerment officer.

Brose said he's been getting questions from people who are anxious about how they can safely return to work. He said there are some things employers can do to help.

“They’ve got to address some of the physical aspects of how that’s going to set up in their office. Social spacing. Social distancing," said Brose.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse said doing things like going outside, exercising, and eating healthy are all things people can do even before they head back to work. Brose said it’s important to take care of yourself physically first.

“Me taking care of myself, and if I know you’re taking care of yourself and everybody in the organization is doing all the right things that helps people feel less anxious about returning into the workplace,” Brose said.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse COVID call center number is 877-215-8336.

The state sent News On 6 the following emails:

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
And, remember, everyone responds differently:
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
•        Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
•        Changes in sleep or eating patterns
•        Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
•        Worsening of chronic health problems
•        Worsening of mental health conditions
•        Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
What are some ways to counter anxiety?
Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t. We can control risk by washing our hands and reminding others to do so, limiting our and others exposure to disease through physical distance, maintaining social supports and being mindful of personal health.
Do what you can do to be safe and feel secure. Maybe you use online ordering, remote pick-up and delivery services. Perhaps you work remotely. This doesn’t mean isolation. Stay connected by phone, texts and video chat.
Get outside while still keeping a safe distance from others. Take a walk, work in the yard or just step outside for fresh air and sunshine. The coming of spring provides warmer temperatures and a sense of hope.
Exercise. Exercise improves both physical and mental health. It rids your body of tension and your mind of stressful thoughts, decreases anxiety, and promotes a feeling of wellness. You can stay active without a gym.
Ground yourself in the here and now. Be present and focus on immediate needs and not the future. When our worry about the future goes into overdrive, it is difficult to do anything. Breathe, notice sights and sounds, and remind yourself that you are here now and be in the moment.
Find ways to stay connected to those you depend on for support, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to family and friends, and share your thoughts.
And, limit your time following news coverage. There is around the clock coverage, and much of it is repeating the same thing many times over. That impacts our views and simply raises anxiety.
Talking about things helps them feel more manageable. If needed, do not hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. You don’t have to be alone with your worry.
If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741, call 1-800-273-TALK, or dial 211 (or, 800-522-9054) to find available services near you. While these may seem like distant services, you are talking and texting with persons right here in your community, ready and willing to help. In addition, you can go to the ODMHSAS.org website and click on the SAMHSA treatment services locator, enter your zip code, and find your nearest provider(s).
This is something that impacts us all, and we are going through this together. Know that people care and that there is help available.