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Holiday stress with COVID-19


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Since March, life has changed for everyone in unimaginable ways.

Some people are feeling deepened anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty about the future due to the impacts of COVID-19, all of which take a heavy toll on daily life.

This time of year brings increased stress as traditional celebrations will look different due to health and safety measures. With the holidays and year end fatigue, this may be an especially difficult time.

The CDC has suggestions that may ease the stress in the weeks to come.

Celebrate in small, same household groups with masks and proper ventilation.

If you can’t see them in person, stay connected with family and friends through zoom and phone calls.

Know that you are not alone as COVID-19 has affected the world, as well as your community.

Go outside for a walk and fresh air, if able.

Disasters can especially leave children feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced the pandemic, has seen the event on television, or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include:

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions; fatigue and decreased energy; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness, pessimism and hopelessness; insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping; irritability and restlessness; and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.

New Englanders experiencing stress due to the pandemic may call their State’s call center for support. 2-1-1 is the special abbreviated telephone number reserved as an easy-to-remember three-digit telephone number meant to provide information and referrals to health, human, and social service organizations.

In addition to guiding callers to crisis counselors, dialing 2-1-1 also provides individuals and families in need with information on where to find social services such as supplemental food and nutrition programs, shelter and housing options, services for veterans, healthcare, and vaccination information.

The call centers are also designed to assist those who do not speak English, those with limited reading skills, and those who are new to their communities. The United Way operates or funds 70 percent of 2-1-1 centers.

The National Disaster Distress Helpline, funded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Support is available to all residents of the U.S./territories experiencing stress or mental health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster through the National Disaster Distress Helpline (call or text 1-800-985-5990; for Spanish, press “2”). The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days week, 365-day-a-year.

Callers can connect with DDH hotline counselors in 100+ additional languages via third-party interpretation services. People who are Deaf or hard of hearing can use the text option, or for TTY, use their preferred Relay service or dial 7-1-1 and then 1-800-985-5990.

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