University of Maryland Extension

Protecting your Mental and Emotional Health from Coronavirus

Amy Rhodes

Protecting your Mental and Emotional Health from Coronavirus
Coronavirus effects more than just your physical health.

by Amy Rhodes

Facing any illness can be a stressful situation for our physical body, however our mental and emotional health is also put under stress during that time as well. Stress affects not just those who are sick but also those who are caregivers and those indirectly exposed to the situation. In this current state of the world we are all being challenged to face a different idea of illness in the form called a "pandemic". The Word Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as a worldwide spread of a new disease facing populations with no immunity to combat the illness. 

Stress and anxiety during the early stages of this pandemic is common and normal. This comes from having concerns for yourself, your loved ones, your personal security and future during a time of little or unknown circumstances. You can protect yourself and loved ones by being proactive about mental and emotional health, which is just as important as your physical health.

Through the resources researched the following ways to be proactive emerged:

  • Limit your exposure to media - staying glued to facebook and online news feeds will only heighten your state of stress and anxiety
  • Empower your knowledge - use only reliable media sources, face it not everything on the web is facts, we all know this but do we listen
  • Reduce your anxiety by reducing your risk - take steps to limit your exposure, improve personal hygiene, be prepared by having necessary medicine and household necessities on hand
  • Create a plan - thinking ahead about what you would do if you are loved ones become sick
  • Have a conversation - talking to friends and loved ones sharing concerns and understanding you are not the only one feeling worry
  • Practice resilience - know we will bounce back from this situation, normalcy will return, we will become more educated and prepared through these inconveniences
  • Continue to live - using a proactive approach continue to participate in your daily life, go outside and breath fresh air
  • Stay Positive - focus on all the wonderful things in life big and small
  • Avoid the bandwagon - do not jump into emerging trends unless recommended by professionals, (ex. wearing a mask 24hrs)
  • Seeking professional help from a licensed mental health professional if necessary
Everyone experiences mental and emotional distress or even breakdowns, it is extremely common and even if you say "I've never had mental or emotional health problems" you actually have, no one is immune. However always remember the severity can be specific for each individual, therefore we all will react differently to each situation. This is your opportunity to empower yourself and also help remove the stigma related to mental and emotional health needs through education. The 4-H Program fully supports efforts in improving our overall health and wellbeing, with new efforts being directed at mental and emotional health for our children and families. 

Resources for Coping with Stress and Anxiety related to the Pandemic
Resources for Families about the Coronavirus
Get information from reliable and valid national and local sources.

Resources for Talking with your Children


From the CDCFrom the Child Mind InstituteMaryland Public Broadcast PBSSearch InstituteResources you can Trust
  • The CDC has issued guidance on COVID 19 for schools and childcare facilities
  • Get centralized local COVID-19 information from the Maryland Government.
  • Johns Hopkins has a centralized page with detailed researched based information about the virus and tracking the spread:
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