Protecting Mental Health Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

Written by Donna Oldenburg, MA, LCPC, NCC

Much has been written about the potential impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) on physical health, but what about its impact on our mental health?

Human beings are social animals who naturally seek the companionship of others as part of their well-being. When we quarantine, or practice social distancing, there may be significant repercussions for our mental health. For those with preexisting mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, the impact is even greater.
Frank McAndrew, an evolutionary psychologist at Knox College in Illinois, notes that enforced quarantine is particularly distressing. “Being quarantined gives one a sense of being at the mercy of other people and other uncontrollable forces such as an epidemic. This leads to a feeling of helplessness and uncertainty about the future that can be very unsettling,”

Despite the challenges, there are ways to help safeguard our mental health while navigating this uncertain time. The following article, written for Sojouners by Nancy Hightower, provides useful suggestions for maintaining our mental health in the age of the coronavirus.