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Mental health tips + resources in Columbia


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Hey, Columbia, Jess here. This morning, I want to take some time to address mental health in relation to COVID-19.

First of all, let’s start out with some US statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

○ 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year.

○ 1 in 6 youth (ages 6-17) experience a mental health disorder each year.

○ 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

○ Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34.

These stats were drawn from data from 2018, and since then, mental illness rates have increased.

This is a stressful time for everyone, and for many, it can take a significant toll on mental health. Loneliness, fear, financial trouble + other emotional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis can lead people to feel out of control.

May is mental health awareness month so before we said goodbye to May we wanted to take a minute to shed some light on this conversation and remind anyone going through a hard time you are not alone. This is something that can impact anyone no matter your age so make sure to check in on your littles as well.

Today, we are sharing some tips recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lexington Medical Center + Prisma Health for managing stress and keeping your mental health in check, as well as additional resources that are available.

Just breathe

Stopping what you’re doing to take a few deep breaths can help to calm nerves + allow you to focus on the present moment.

Self care

Take this extra time at home to cook healthy meals, exercise and set a good sleep schedule. Focus on what you can control (your own behavior and choices) instead of the things you can’t control. Wear a mask, wash your hands and practice safe physical distancing.

Check out this list of local virtual workouts that will get you moving + your endorphins flowing.

Go outside + get some sun. Vitamin D is said to potentially play a part in reducing feelings of depression + anxiety.

Stay informed with information from credible sources, but limit the amount of time a day you watch or read the news, and avoid getting caught up in unfounded theories.

Connect with friends + family

Quarantine can feel extremely lonely, so be sure to take advantage of your inner circle. Calling a friend or family member can alleviate the feeling of isolation, as well as provide an opportunity to talk about how you’re feeling.

ProTip: Try playing a game online using Zoom or FaceTime. Laughter and fun can help us put things into perspective.

Maintain a regular routine

Healthcare professionals at Mayo Clinic recommend keeping your daily schedule as regulated as possible, including getting ready for the day, having consistent meal times, dedicated time for work, etc. Keeping a regular schedule can help reduce stress by allowing you to feel in control of your day.

Connect with friends + family

Quarantine can feel extremely lonely, so be sure to take advantage of your inner circle. Calling a friend or family member can alleviate the feeling of isolation, as well as provide an opportunity to talk about how you’re feeling.

Relax + recharge

It’s easy to get caught up in work, stress, etc. when you are at home all day. Be sure to take some time to unplug by reading a book, taking a nap, or anything that helps you recharge.


This is a great time to go off the grid. Ditching social media + screens for even a few hours can help you to relax and focus on things that keep you calm.
Check out these digital resources from the Richland Library for books, music, audiobooks + more to wind down with.

Focus on the good

It’s easy to get caught up in all the bad happening right now, so it’s important to focus on the positive things.

Know that it’s okay to ask for help

Whether it’s your family, friends, coworkers or health professionals, reach out to someone if you need help – there are tons of people who are willing to talk with you.

Additional resources

The SC Department of Mental Health offers resources including a community crisis response intervention team available 24/7 at 1-833-364-2274.

Mental Health America gives tons of national resources for tools + info on anxiety, financial support, webinars, help for specific groups + more.

Lexington Medical Center has several online offerings related to COVID-19 – see their latest update here. Their team also recommends taking advantage of in-person or online therapy with a local provider (find one here).

Prisma Health Behavioral Care Services offers various services including mental health counseling and is available through telehealth appointments.

UofSC Student Health Services offers many ways for you to get or give help through programs and counseling opportunities.

Here is a directory of additional SC mental health centers and clinics.

United Way’s SC 211 program offers coronavirus-specific mental health resources like a Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990), a guide to common experiences during a disease outbreak + a list of SC mental health resources.

Mayo Clinic’s advice on recognizing the difference between day-to-day stress and something more serious.

The CDC offers additional resources for parents, people at high risk, people coming out of quarantine + first responders here.

○ Reliable sources for COVID-19 information including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), + American Cancer Society.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

Note: if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression – no matter how severe – know that you are not alone. Our team, your community + health professionals are here to support and help you.

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