With stress and anxiety increasing due to the ongoing pandemic, medical professionals across Carroll County are offering resources for coping — including a new COVID-19 stress line.
“When you don’t know what you’re facing, you don’t necessarily know how to prepare. The sense of helplessness is often the trigger for being overwhelmed,” said Dr. Kenneth Genova.
Genova works at Tanner Health System in its Willowbrooke facilities and is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology.
Genova said that when something is unfamiliar or unknown, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it can trigger fear and anxiety.
And for the many who are out of work, they must find new ways to spend their days, which might include following every update and piece of breaking news on the situation.
Genova said that’s part of the problem, as well; people who submerge and overwhelm themselves in an overload of negative or worrying news reports.
Part of the solution is to lower that intake and consume news in a manageable way. Another part, he said, is simply creating a routine and sticking to it.
A routine, even as simple as scheduling when to cook, or try a new activity, or work on a hobby, can keep people grounded, especially if they’ve gone through years with a routine at school or at work.
“The daily routine provides a sense of security,” Genova said. “Predictability of the day gives predictability to the weeks, and to the months of our lives and we feel less out of control.”
While social distancing is a must, Genova said the process could be better described as physical distancing, because emotional and social connections with an individual’s loved ones continue, and are important during this time.
Technology can work wonders in this area, he said, because people can connect easier with such tools as video chat, phone calls and messaging.
“Being physically apart does not mean that you do not have the emotional support of your loved ones, and can be supportive and caring for others who are in your life who need that, as well,” Genova said.
For those who might find themselves still needing mental support during this situation, even in the era of social distancing, mental health providers are still available.
Prior regulations regarding at-home services have been lifted so that mental health services can be provided electronically.
Willowbrooke at Tanner now has a COVID-19 stress line, by which appointments can be scheduled with a Tanner clinician. These visits are done electronically, through the computer or phone, and prescriptions can be sent to a pharmacy.
The telephone number is 770-812-3266.
For students attending the University of West Georgia, there is a phone and computer application available for free mental health services in a partnership with Sharpen, a mental health content, and technology company.
The app, called Sharpen College, collaborates with licensed mental health providers to provide students self-help information, techniques and guidance and is available for free until Aug. 31.