stone pile on beach
Westchester County residents are all coping with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is projected that the health crisis precipitated by COVID-19 could have a lasting affect on everyone's mental health.

Public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, can shake our sense of safety - causing feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. While anxiety can be useful because it helps motivate self-preservation, it can also be overwhelming.

There are several things you can do during these times to help reduce anxiety and find balance. A few are summarized below.

For additional suggestions on how to navigate your feelings, frustrations and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, DCMH has assembled a booklet of images, thoughts and resources in greater detail that may you may find helpful. 

Michael Orth, Commissioner Department of Community Mental Health reminds residents: “If the anxiety and stress becomes overwhelming, reach out. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health is here to help. Through our direct services and partnerships with our community based providers, together, we are here to support you. Reach out to our office at (914) 995-1900.”

Available for viewing: Work-Life Balance Workshop
Watch the recorded session of the Work-Life Balance Workshop held April 17, 2020.

Take Time to Take Care of Yourself
This seems basic, but it is often the first thing we lose sight of. Exercise routines are disrupted, sleep can be difficult and we often reach for foods that are easily accessible, but provide little nutrition.

Helpful Tips

  • Develop a daily routine
  • Take the time to exercise
  • Eat well
  • Get rest
  • Stay connected to the world by spending time outside - but remember to continue practicing social distancing.

Be Mindful
You do not have to participate in formal activities such as prayer, yoga or guided meditation. While that may be helpful for some people, you can incorporate moments of mindfulness into your daily routine through deep breathing and grounding exercises. Enjoy each moment.

Limit Media Exposure
It seems like COVID-19 is the topic of every conversation. We are also bombarded with messages through traditional media and social media. Try to create a safe space to engage in activities that have nothing to do with COVID-19. Use media in helpful ways, such as a video exercise class, watching a light show or talking to friends and family.

Stay Socially Connected
We have all quickly become familiar with the term social distance. Social distance helps limit the spread of the virus, but can also lead to feeling disconnected. Use technology and social media to preserve and promote social connections. Applications and platforms such as Facebook Live, Zoom and FaceTime promote connection through face to face communication. Share stories, pictures and stay connected with friends and loved ones.

Help Others
Traumatic events can make us feel powerless. One way to feel empowered is to help others. Even doing something small can help. Remember, doing good things for others feels good. Another way to help feel empowered is by creating your own plan on how to respond in times of crisis.

Reach Out
If the anxiety and stress becomes overwhelming, reach out. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health is here to help. Through our direct services and partnerships with our community based providers, together, we are here to support you. Reach out to our office at (914) 995-1900. Westchester County’s Employee Assistance Program is also available to support County Employees and their families. Your EAP clinicians can be reached by contacting (914) 995-6070. Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Be Safe
If you or someone you know is being hurt by a family member or intimate partner, reach out. All domestic violence agencies are operational and can be accessed through the County Office for Women at (914) 995-5972 or the Westchester County Family Justice Center at (914) 995-1880. If you believe that a child is in danger, call the statewide toll free number at (800) 342-3720 or 911.