COVID-19 brings unique challenges during mental health month of May
PHOENIX – With stay-at-home orders and other measures being taken to protect Arizonans from COVID-19, many people feel isolated more than ever.
Some turn to eating, drinking and smoking more because of the increase in stress.
Older Americans are at higher risk of COVID-19 and have been more isolated than other age group to help them avoid the virus.
Sandra Crews, a Colorado-based strategies consultant for United Healthcare, says now more than ever, older family members need more reaching out.
“By phone, FaceTime, Skype, you know everybody Zooms these days,” Crews said.
“I know we can’t physically be there, but technology is making it easier to stay connected.”
May has been designated as Mental Health Month and according the Journal of Aging, Crews said, 40% of the population over 65 are reporting loneliness at some point in their life.
“I believe social isolation will drive that number up.”
And no matter a person’s age, Crews said it’s best to stay in as much of a routine as possible during these very uncertain times.
“I hear people say, “Did I shower today?’ Because we’re so out of routine. We need to check in with ourselves and make sure we’re doing things we routinely did before the pandemic like brushing our teeth, showering, taking the garbage out, among many other things.
“And if we’re not, is it because we’re stressed?”
For some stress goes beyond that. It becomes overwhelming and some have feelings of wanting to hurt themselves and that’s a time to get help as soon as possible.
Crews said the care company has a helpline available and staffed 24 hours a day with mental health professionals at 1-866-342-6892.