Tips for Managing Your Mental Health During the Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all immensely but in different ways. Mental health clinicians are worried the pandemic is triggering anxiety, aggression, depression and other mental health issues in some people who are also avoiding treatment because of stay at home orders.

The mental health of our community is especially on the minds of clinicians during the month of May as it’s Mental Health Awareness Month. To protect your safety and well-being, the Manager of Palomar Health’s Behavioral Health Clinical Care Services Michelle Hemmings offers some advice.

First is that anyone experiencing an emergency should not hesitate to seek emergency care. All San Diego County Emergency Departments and hospitals are providing the highest level of safety during the pandemic by regularly disinfecting surfaces, wearing masks and isolating contagious patients. Furthermore patient volumes are lower than recent memory so there’s capacity to serve you.

Fortunately, most people never reach crisis levels and by following some preventive measures suggested by Hemmings, you can manage those bouts of apprehension:
  • Take a break from social media and the news, which can feed your anxiety. Try watching something uplifting or read a book.
  • Focus on healthy habits like exercise, eating fruits and vegetables, getting at least eight hours of sleep.
  • Find ways to give back to others such as volunteering at food banks, calling friends and loved ones and writing letters.
While you may not be experiencing any negative side effects from the pandemic, someone close to you might. Here are some signs to look for, according to Hemmings:
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Expressing thoughts of hopelessness or suicide
  • Declining personal hygiene
  • Isolating oneself
Whether it be for yourself or others, help is available by calling the San Diego Access and Crisis Line, staffed by licensed clinicians and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The number is 888-724-7240. You can also visit 211 San Diego online.

​Photo caption: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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