Remember to maintain your mental health during COVID-19

Published 8:34 am Tuesday, March 24, 2020

With new reports surrounding COVID-19 reported daily, anxiety and fear are common responses. During this time, it is essential that people remember to keep their mental health in check.

Dr. David Kirschke, Medical Director for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Department, says that while paying attention to guidelines is necessary, excessive worrying is not.

“People should be concerned enough to take public health recommendations seriously and seek out credible information, such as from CDC and TDH,” he said.  “However, excessive worry is not only unhelpful, it can be harmful.  We recommend that anyone who feels excess anxiety or stress as a result of COVID-19 reach out to others, while maintaining social distance, or their healthcare provider.”

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Like Kirschke, Tim Perry, the Senior Vice President of Frontier Health, believes excessive worrying does more harm than good.

“We want to focus on mental health,” he said. “In times like these, when we hear words like pandemic, mortality rate or shortages, it is natural for them to produce worries or fear and anxiousness, but those can lead to more serious mental health illnesses, such as panic, poor sleep or concentration.”

Perry said that those who already have mental illnesses are also at risk of increased issues due to this, and urges people to follow medication regimens if they have them and also keep appointments with therapists and healthcare providers as needed. Additionally he says that even those who do not have a diagnosed mental illness should work on ways to keep their mental health in check as well.

The Centers for Disease Control urges that maintaining mental health during this time will help make you and your community stronger. The website urges people to take breaks from news or social media posts surrounding COVID-19, taking care of yourself, taking time to unwind and talking to people about how you are feeling.

If you are feeling isolated or need someone to talk to, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Frontier Health’s 24/7 Crisis Line for Tennessee is 877-928-9062. The numbers for Virginia are, for Lee County 276-346-3590, for Scott County 276-225-0976 and for Wise County 276-523-8300. You can also read about coping with stress at

“Focus on the positives of things you have overcome in your own life, that have given you strength and resilience as an individual and as a family,” said Perry. “For all the negative things you are seeing about this virus, look for those positives, how we’ve come together as a nation and how people are helping one another, like heroes stepping up to put themselves at risk to help others.”