The COVID-19 pandemic is difficult on so many levels. But our mental health can be especially fragile as we try to be kind to ourselves and monitor stress levels and anxiety in others.
The intangible, temporal thing we most need is human connection, but as AP national writer Matt Sendensky wrote on April 6, what we experience, ironically, are “hugs unexchanged, visits unmade, hands unheld.”
Stress-induced anxiety, situational depression and even symptoms of trauma are all too real for the vulnerable – and maybe even for those who think they are invulnerable but don’t recognize symptoms of stress. Nerves can fray, angry words can fly, addictive behaviors can worsen and old bad habits can surface or be exacerbated.
It’s been said, “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” For some, mental toughness works, and that’s great. For others, sheer acts of the will aren’t enough. Even physically healthy people can catch a bug, and even mentally healthy people can be overwhelmed by life’s trials at some phase of their lives.
Fortunately, on the Mid-Shore we have many places to turn for help, and there is no shame in seeking help. Mental health care can begin with just a phone call or website visit.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties extends an invitation to members of the community to reach out for support and help.
You can call NAMI’s local help line is 443-480-0565 for information and assistance. If no answer, leave a voicemail during regular business hours and a representative will respond no later than the next day. You can also call the NAMI-MD help line at 410-884-8691. Or email email@example.com.
Another resource is the Eastern Shore Mobile Crisis Team — its number is 1-888-407-8018, answered 24/7. Call if you are in crisis; and call 911 in an emergency.
More information about mental health issues and resources for these times can be found at NAMI’s website nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf.
The Children’s Mental Health Matters Campaign has helpful information on children’s mental health, and it’s updated daily at childrensmentalhealthmatters.org/resources/mentalhealthmondays.
All Seasons serves Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. Their English hotline is 1-800-310-7273 and Spanish hotline is 410-829-6143. For other mental help tips, visit forallseasonsinc.org.
Mid Shore Behavioral Health has a 24/7 hotline at 888-407-8018. Or visit www.midshorebehavioralhealth.org and click on the 2020 Resource Guide for even more crisis hotlines.
The Centers for Disease Control has a special website to help you cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out their helpful guidelines, helplines and websites at
Please call someone – connecting can help, whether you are struggling or you know someone who is. Reach out to a member of the clergy. Ordained ministers and rabbis are trained to help you or to refer you to someone who can.
Depression can create its own double whammy of hopelessness and isolation. Mental health professionals can help score a one-two punch by helping you dig your way out of the hopelessness of depression and guiding you to feel less alone. Please reach out.