As information about COVID-19 – the illness associated with a new strain of coronavirus – unfolds, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. Below are some helpful information and resources.
Please recognize that people can experience a wide range of reactions. Over the next few days or weeks, you may experience periods of:
- Anxiety, worry, panic
- Feeling helplessness
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance to your health and body
Ways to Manage Fears and Anxieties
Although COVID-19 is a health issue that is being taken very seriously by the university and public health authorities worldwide, do not let your worry about this virus control your life. There are many simple and effective ways to manage your fears and anxieties. Many of them are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle; adopting them can help improve your overall emotional and physical well-being.
- Get the facts. It is helpful to stay up to date with credible news sources. The best places to get accurate, updated information on COVID-19 are:
- Keep things in perspective. Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you spend watching or listening to upsetting media coverage. Although you’ll want to keep informed — especially if you have loved ones in affected countries — remember to take a break from watching the news and focus on the things that are positive in your life and things you have control over.
- Be mindful of your assumptions about others. Someone who has a cough or a fever does not necessarily have COVID-19 – the nation is also experiencing a significant flu season. Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.
- Stay healthy. Adopt healthy hygienic habits such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick person. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid contact with others who are sick and stay home while sick. Try to get adequate sleep and eat healthy foods to support your immune system.
- Keep connected. Maintaining social networks can help maintain a sense of normalcy and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.
- Seek additional help. Individuals who feel an overwhelming worry or anxiety can seek additional professional mental health support.
- Plan. Creating a plan for yourself and your loved ones can help reduce stress and anxiety. For example, consider keeping extra supplies of food, pet food, cash, medical supplies and medication on hand. If you are experiencing food insecurity, resources are available to you at: ramsagainsthunger.colostate.edu
Content adapted from the American Psychological Association and UC Berkeley University Health Services.
Mental Health, Stress, Anxiety and Coronavirus
- Coping with Stress (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Taking Care of your Emotional Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Coronaviruses and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (American Psychiatric Association)
- Speaking of Psychology: Coronavirus Anxiety (American Psychological Association)
Resources for Parents and Families
- Helping Children Cope with Emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Taking Care of your Family during Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress)
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19 (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
- Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronaviruses (National Public Radio)
- Talking to Teens and Tweens about Coronavirus (The New York Times)
For students interested in additional support, visit the Mental Health and Well-Being Resources for Students web page.
For Faculty & Staff
Mental and emotional health resources for faculty and staff are available through the Employee Assistance Program. Learn more at eap.colostate.edu or by calling 970-491-3437.