South Carolina public health and mental health leaders are emphasizing the importance of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recognition of Mental Health Month, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Department of Mental Health (DMH) encourage South Carolinians to find the balance that works for them.
“During these uncertain times, we understand that many South Carolinians may have feelings of stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “It is also important for all of us, especially those of us who are most vulnerable to getting sick from the virus, to protect our mental and emotional health.”
“These last weeks have reminded Americans that each of us must be as vigilant about our mental health as we are our physical health,” said DMH State Director Kenneth Rogers, MD. “Though these are difficult and confusing times, we want to remind our community that maintaining our mental health is important not only in times like these, but always.”
In addition to taking precautions to stop the spread of germs, DHEC and DMH encourage South Carolinians to take the following steps to help protect your mental and emotional health:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about COVID-19 or other stress-inducing issues repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body: eat healthy, well-balanced meals; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and participate in activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It is OK to need assistance to stay mentally healthy.
To help increase awareness of mental health and coping with stress, DHEC and DMH have partnered to produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA) focused on promoting the steps listed above. To view the PSA, click here. A Spanish translation version of the PSA is available here.
In addition, DMH has made resources on managing anxiety and stress available on its webpage at scdmh.net. Its community mental health centers statewide are open and accepting new patients, with no referral needed. To find the center closest to you, visit scdmh.net. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call DMH’s statewide Community Crisis Response and Intervention line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free, at (833) DMH-CCRI (833-364-2274).