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Emotional Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have described the coronavirus, or COVID-19, as an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). You can read more about COVID-19 on the CDC’s “Situation Summary” page.

Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, as well as other public health events, can cause emotional distress and anxiety. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless is common during an infectious disease outbreak, especially in the face of a virus with which the general public may be unfamiliar. These feelings of distress and anxiety can occur even if you are not at high risk of getting sick.

Coping Tips

People that are feeling emotional distress related to COVID-19 can take actions to help support themselves and others.

  • Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news.
  • Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible.
  • Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak.
  • Get accurate health information from reputable sources. For health information about COVID-19, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov, your local healthcare provider, or your local 211 and 311 services, if available.
  • If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or your local crisis line.
  • For coping tools and resources, visit the Lifeline website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or Vibrant Emotional Health’s Safe Space at vibrant.org/safespace.

Helpful Resources

Reliable sources of information about COVID-19:

Other Helpful Resources to Support Your Mental and Emotional Wellbeing:

About Lifeline Crisis Centers

The accessible and free mental health crisis services that Lifeline crisis centers offer are especially vital during times of social distancing, and can be considered an essential service. Lifeline crisis centers may be used to overcome barriers of access to services caused by distance or unavailability of in-person mental health support, and can prevent unnecessary exposure during a pandemic. When individuals may be experiencing heightened anxiety, depression, and stress caused by infectious disease outbreaks and accompanying social-isolation measures, having access to trained and caring counselors may be critical for a community’s mental wellbeing.

To find your local crisis center and learn how you can support it, visit the Our Crisis Centers page.

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Ways to Support Yourself