WHITMAN — Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Timothy J. Grenno and Police Chief Timothy Hanlon would like to share tips to help residents alleviate their stress and panic surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while practicing social distancing.
The COVID-19 outbreak and fear of becoming ill can cause stress and panic for people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are many ways to manage anxiety and stress about the situation:
- Share the facts about COVID-19 to understand the actual risk to yourself and other individuals. When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
- Avoid posting or re-posting unverified information, claims, bogus medical information or conspiracy theories, as it only works to heighten emotions
- Take breaks from listening, watching and reading the news.
- Tend to your body. Stretch, mediate and take deep breaths. Try to eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Try to do other activities that are enjoyable.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Reassure children and teens that they are safe and that it is okay if they feel upset or stressed.
- Be a role model to children and teens. Connect with friends and families while abiding to social distancing standards, including the use of video calling services like FaceTime.
Children and COVID-19
Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing until further guidelines are provided by state officials about the status of the virus.
- Families should practice social distancing with their children and follow these guidelines from the state and local health officials:
- Families should not hold “play dates” and those in need of childcare should limit the number of families involved as much as possible.
- Practice social distancing techniques with children and have them practice among themselves.
- Clean and sanitize toys, video game controllers and all touch surfaces regularly.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
As the weather continues to improve, outdoor gatherings are viewed as safer, but social distancing techniques should still be practiced, and all sports/recreation equipment and toys should be cleaned regularly.
Teens are included in this group, and activities like bike riding and hiking/ walking are viewed as safer alternatives to gathering at movie theaters, retail stores and other indoor venues.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a Disaster Distress Helpline to provide 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people.
- Call 800-985-5990 to connect with trained crisis counselors, 24/7
- Text with a live counselor via SMS, text ‘TalkWithUs” to 66746.
- Text “Hablanos” for Spanish at 66746.
- To learn more on how to cope with stress and anxiety, go to the CDC website, or the SAMHSA website.