What you can do to stay mentally healthy during the coronavirus pandemic

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fears about the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll on some people’s mental health, but if you’re struggling, there is help available.

Monica Kurz is the director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center. She says they have seen an increase of calls due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are seeing that people are reaching out more via phone really over the last week and a half or so, we’ve seen our calls really significantly increase,” she said.

Uncertainty about personal health, the health of loved ones, jobs and the economy has people feeling uneasy.

“We do see that folks are calling and saying that the coronavirus is something that is on their mind,” Kurz said. “I hope that folks know that that’s really normal. That it’s okay to feel worried about this, but we don’t want you to feel worried alone, so connect with us or connect with someone else.”

Kurz says social distancing can impact people differently.

“I think that kind of based on personality and how used to maybe spending time alone how comfortable you are with that, you’re going to see the way that it affects people kind of play out differently from person to person.”

So, here’s what you can do. Kurz recommends focusing on activities that you enjoy.

“Maybe you can’t go out to the bar or the gym, but you can go on a walk, even just around your house. I encourage people to think about things that would just normally bring them joy. So, can we sit down and read a book? Can I sit down and take a few deep breaths?”

If you or someone you know needs to talk, help is available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That number is 1-800-273-8255.

You can also visit their website or chat with someone online here.

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