Westchester County residents are all coping with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  It is projected that the health crisis precipitated by COVID-19 could have a lasting impact on the mental health of the citizens of Westchester.

The Department of Community Mental Health reminds our residents that public health emergencies, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) can shake our sense of safety causing feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.  Anxiety can be useful at times because it helps motivate self-preservation but can sometimes be overwhelming. There are several things you can do during these times to help reduce anxiety and find balance.

One thing that is quickly overlooked is making time to take care of yourself. This seems basic but it is often the first thing we lose sight of.  

“As we are caring for others in such a time of great need, it is important that we practice self-care,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Through the efforts of Community Mental Health and our partners we are offering many different resources and services to support our residents,” he added.

Some helpful tips for self-care include: 

  • Take the time to exercise, remember to eat well and get rest. Stay connected to the world around by spending time outside.
  • Be mindful. Incorporate moments of mindfulness into your daily routine through deep breathing, yoga, meditation and grounding exercises. Enjoy each moment.
  • It seems like COVID-19 is the topic of every conversation. Try to create a safe space to engage in activities that have nothing to do with COVID-19. Limit your exposure.

We have all quickly become familiar with the term of social distance. Social distance helps limit the spread of the virus but can also cause feelings of disconnection. Use technology and social media to preserve and promote social connections.  Applications and platforms such as Facebook Live, Zoom and Facetime promote connection through face to face communication. Share stories, pictures and stay connected.

Traumatic events can make us feel powerless. One way to feel empowered is to help others. Even doing something small can help. Remember, doing good things for others feels good. Another way to help feel empowered is by creating your own plan on how to respond in times of crisis.

Michael Orth, Commissioner Department of Community Mental Health reminds residents, “If the anxiety and stress becomes overwhelming, reach out. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health is here to help. Through our direct services and partnerships with our community based providers, together, we are here to support you. Reach out to our office at 914-995-1900.”

The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health will be offering a free workshop on "Mindful Work-Life balance and practical steps to integrate mindful moments and Guided Meditation" for all residents on Thursday, April 16, 2020, from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Join the live streamed workshop. Use Meeting ID: 195 176 745.  The workshop will be taped and made available on the county website for those who are unable to participate. For additional information, contact the Department of Community Mental Health at (914) 995-1900.