Mental Health Monday: Supporting mental health during pandemic

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 8:36 AM EDT
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While the coronavirus pandemic poses a threat to physical health, experts say it's also important to remember the implications it can have on our mental well-being.

CEO of Brynn Marr Hospital in Jacksonville Allison Davenport says it can be challenging for people to adjust to the new normal, especially those with mental illness.

"In any epidemic, it's common for people to feel an incredible amount of fear. Fear for themselves and the well-being of their loved ones," said Davenport.

She says the signs of depression or suicide include significant changes in behavior, increased use of alcohol or drugs, change in sleep patterns or saying good bye to loved ones and giving away items.

If you notice any of these behaviors, Davenport says it's important to talk to your loved one.

"There's a common misconception that if you ask someone who may be depressed or may have thoughts of suicide, you are actually going to lead that individual to take their life. On the contrary, asking directly and listening intently may encourage them to get the help that they need," Davenport explained.

Davenport says your reaction is equally as important.

"Rather than being judgmental, remain calm and compassionate. If you're concerned about a loved one, take them seriously and give them your attention," said Davenport.

She suggests staying connected in whatever way you can, whether that's getting creative through virtual gatherings, dinners, etc.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Brynn Marr Hospital also has a number of resources available