As we move into another week of adapting to all of the recent changes due to the COVID--19 outbreak, I want to remind each of you that there are a host of supports for you and your family. I have previously sent out apps for stress relief and with a focus on anxiety reduction, management of depressive symptoms, and overall well-being. I am resending those in this email (along with some family/parenting tips and social isolation tips), but also wanted to offer support for those of you who have pre-disposed Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
At a time when we are all hearing that we are 'at war' and 'fighting an enemy that we cannot see', it is likely to trigger underlying symptoms that may already be present. This is a natural response to an increase in stress, triggering language, and preparedness to 'fight' this unseen enemy. If you do suffer from the effects of PTSD you may notice an increase in agitation and/or anger, hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping, and a return of intrusive thoughts...to name a few. I really encourage you to take a look at the PTSD Coach app. "PTSD Coach was designed for those who have, or may have, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This app provides you with education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help you manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD. Tools range from relaxation skills and positive self-talk to anger management and other common self-help strategies. You can customize tools based on your preferences and can integrate your own contacts, photos, and music. This app can be used by people who are in treatment as well as those who are not."
My message is also for each and every one of you, soldiers and civilians, who support the MEARNG. Whether or not you have experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression in the past, you may find yourself struggling with those very issues currently. Again, this is a natural response to heightened stress and the enormity of the changes we are all being asked to adapt to. The GOOD NEWS is that there is help. Please reach out to our Behavioral Health Program for guidance and support as needed. We have a host of on-line options for you to access to manage these symptoms and if needed we can connect you to formal clinical support with someone via Telehealth services through-out the State of Maine.
You may simply need a listening ear...we are here for that too! I also encourage you to pull back from the news intermittently and as you are able to. It is good to be educated and aware of the impact to Maine and the global impact of this virus, however, you must balance this with a focus on health and wellness. Focus on the areas you CAN indeed control such as following the CDC guidelines on health and safety, connecting with family in new and creative ways whether you are all at home together or having to maintain a distance, exercise, eat well, use guided meditations (attached) if you need improved sleep or to help manage the symptoms discussed above. Most of all, please remember we are all in this together.
Reach out, as often as you'd like, we ARE here.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 Option 1
Military One Source: 800-342-9647 State Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112