Health department and Burrell address mental health concerns with COVID-19

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo- The Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Burrell Behavioral Health are teaming up to address mental health concerns surrounding COVID-19.

According to a press release, these agencies want to make sure the community understands that social distancing does NOT have to mean isolation.

Both agencies held a virtual press conference Friday afternoon.

During the virtual conference, SGCHD Director Clay Goddard said that one of the two cases in Christian County actually belongs in Greene County since the patient lives on the Greene County side of the county line.

That means Christian County is down to one confirmed case.

Burrell Behavioral Health Director C.J. Davis spoke about mental health concerns people may have about the virus.

“Perhaps the secret secondary public health issue that we are encountering now, is the anxiety of COVID, or what we’re referring to as ACOVID. It’s a very serious issue and the anxiety of COVID right now is impacting everybody,” said Davis.

He talked about four specific groups that are heavily impacted by anxiety.

  • Those worried about COVID
  • Those with a pre-existing mental health condition
  • Front line healthcare workers
  • Children

He also gives symptoms of anxiety people may be experiencing.

“Some generalized worry that you’re having a hard time controlling, some difficulties in attention and concentration, some intermittent up and down bouts of mood, some disturbances in sleep, some increased physical complaints, and frankly worsening of physical complaints, an increased desire to use substances,” said Davis.

After saying that list, Davis reiterated that having these symptoms does not mean one is experiencing a mental health condition, but that they are natural secondary byproducts of the anxiety.

He then lists ways on how to remain calm and lower any anxiety.

  • Keep your day organized
  • Practice good mental hygiene, nutrition, and sleep
  • Limit access to social media
  • Practice social engagement, remain connected through phone calls and texting

Davis also talked about how children and adolescents are struggling to understand what is happening around the world.

“This is not an extended spring break for them, and they’re experiencing challenges in what to do with their time,” Davis said.

He urged parents to talk with their children about how to deal with the worry with COVID-19.

Below are some comments from people Ozarks First talked to around Springfield on how they are staying in a good frame of mind.

“I’ve just been trying to limit my time doing research reading news articles to just a couple of hours a day, but also give me time to do what I need to do for my mental health.”

“One thing that I’ve been doing is trying to stay connected with people through other methods. Phone calls, texts, Facebook. I have a really tight church family that we’ve been reaching out to each other through Facebook platform.”

“It’s good to sit back and you know, be informed but not get too overworked up about it because if you get sick, if you stress yourself out that will make it worse.”

“I like to read, watch movies. I love games, so video games, card games, board games, stuff like that.”

“Working from home now, which is definitely a different experience, but trying to stay in touch with the outside world and honestly trying to not watch the news all the time. Of course, local news is great, but just watching national news and just watching numbers climb, it just kind of gets to you after a while.”

“I’ve noticed some of my friends who are in more affected areas, Chicago and New York, stuff like that. I’ve kind of caught glimpse that they’re all face timing and having drinks together just through facetime. So I think all that stuff is really important.”

Davis said Burrell has services available for anyone who is experiencing mental health concerns with COVID-19.

For more on those services, click here. You can reach out to Burrell by phone by calling: 417-761-5000 or their crisis line at 1-800-494-7355.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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