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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #MentalHealth Tips During Self-Quarantine Periods

Leonard L. Hayhurst,

Local counselors still available for those who need them

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • #Mentalhealth is just as important as physical health during the #COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Local counselors and counseling centers are seeing patients via the phone and video conferencing.
  • Counselors suggest it’s important to establish a routine and adhere to a schedule during this time.
  • Recreational activities are important like exercise and playing games with children.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

COSHOCTON – #Mentalhealth of those staying home during the #COVID-19 pandemic is a concern, but local counselors offer tips to stay positive and focused during this time. 

Leslie Ridenbaugh of Ohio Family Counseling and Consultation and Beth Cormack of Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices said their entities are continuing to treat patients, using telehealth options when possible like video and phone calls. 

Both said it’s important to adhere to routines to feel control and establish a new normal. It’s good to stay connected via #socialmedia, but to not let #socialmedia and the constant deluge of news bring you down. This stay at home opportunity can also be used to explore new hobbies or family activities.Kyle Ridenbaugh watches his wife, Leslie, feed baby Edison while Jarome and Jamie have a mid-morning snack in this Tribune file photo. Leslie, a counselor, said it's important to stick with routines during the COVID-19 stay at home order and explore new activities and games for children who are facing the same worries and boredom.

Kyle Ridenbaugh watches his wife, Leslie, feed baby Edison while Jarome and Jamie have a mid-morning snack in this Tribune file photo. Leslie, a counselor, said it’s important to stick with routines during the #COVID-19 stay at home order and explore new activities and games for children who are facing the same worries and boredom. (Photo: Leonard Hayhurst/Tribune)

Ridenbaugh is a mother of three with two school aged. She said it’s important to understand that children are in the same boat as adults and will have a lot of the same issues of worry and boredom. Maintaining their schooling, playing games and going outside with them will be helpful to them and parents. 

“I know from personal experience, it can be very stressful to do schoolwork with kids. I’m not a teacher. I certainly value our teachers, I did before, but even more so now,” Ridenbaugh said. “Trying your best to help them stay up-to-date with their educational tasks is important, but also finding new ways to learn things and teach your kids.”

The #coronavirus outbreak and current stay at home order is a topic for most patients right now. Ridenbaugh said she’s added a weekly group meeting via video conferencing for those experiencing #anxiety and #depression related to the current situation. 

She said there are not statistics right now, but #mentalhealthprofessionals are naturally concerned about #suicide rates increasing. Using available #mentalhealthservices and #suicideprevention hotlines will certainly help with that.

“In addition to added #stress for clients of ours who have already experienced trouble with #mentalhealth problems, we are seeing people who have never had #mentalhealthservices probably needing to seek those services, because it’s an extremely stressful time,” Ridenbaugh said. “I don’t want to say panic, but there is a sense of fear that is very real for all of us. Reaching out for help when you’re experiencing that is very important.”

Ridenbaugh and Cormack said limiting #socialmedia use and information intake can help with #stress and #anxiety. It’s important to know what’s going on, but limiting your check of the news to once in the morning and once at night can help to avoid #depression that a constant stream of negative reports or online squabbling can lead to. Get the News Alerts newsletter in your inbox.

Cormack remembers the blizzard of 1978 that had people trapped at home for days, but it was nothing like what we’re experiencing now. They haven’t seen a lot of crisis yet, but that could be because the situation is still new, and a sense of monotony and boredom hasn’t struck yet. 

“It’s going to start getting old. It’s how we are as humans. It’s how we’re wired. We can do things for a short period of time, but we want normalcy back in our lives,” Cormack said. “Normalcy really creates a vacuum of understanding and calmness for us. When things get too out of whack, we don’t like change and especially change for a long period of time.”

Tyra Hixon, clinical director for CBHC, said negative feelings are normal during this time and it’s not wrong to have them. This can include concerns of taking care of yourself and loved ones, job security and general loss of structure. 

“Structure is what we need right now. Make a schedule for yourself. Make sure you’re adding all the recreation you can in there. Relaxation exercises, get outside if you can, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, make sure you’re getting exercise, even if that’s only 30 minutes,” Hixon said. 

A tip for when tempers flare is to go to another room and take time to be alone. People might say or do things right now they don’t really mean and it’s important to realize that and work through it. Hixon said distraction can also be helpful, like watching a favorite movie and participating in a favorite pastime. 

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