How to protect your mental health during COVID-19 pandemic

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How to protect your mental health during COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: KUTV)

The U.S. Surgeon General said this week will be one of the saddest for Americans, as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said it will be our "Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment."

In Utah, the number of people who've contracted COVID-19 and the deaths from the disease pale in comparison to those in New York City. Still, wondering whether you or one of your loved ones will get it is certainly a cause of anxiety and stress — no matter where you live.

Rebecca Brown, COO for Valley Behavioral Health, said this is an important time to care for your mental health. It's important to forget about the stigma of seeking treatment. You may not need intense treatment.

"It could be a brief intervention," she said.

Valley Behavioral Health continues to offer mental health treatment and substance use disorder treatment. Like many healthcare organizations, it is doing much of its work with patients through telehealth right now.

If you want more information on Valley Behavioral Health, call 888-949-4864 or visit their website. You can get help even if you don't have health insurance.

Brown said while it's too soon to know how our collective mental health will be impacted by COVID -19, but people will likely be affected in different ways.

"Some people will respond with normal stress and reaction. Some might have more severe reactions like post-traumatic stress disorder. We want to be aware of those symptoms," she said.

For now, Brown said take care of yourself by getting sleep and connecting with friends and loved ones on the phone and via video. It's also important to not become too consumed with reading about the virus all day long on social media posts.

She suggests staying up to date on information issued by credible sources like the health department and the CDC.

One thing to keep in mind, is that people are resilient. It happened after 9/11.

"Even with 9/11, as horrific as that was, by and large, most people moved through that and recovered and moved forward," she said.