Therapist offers tips for mental health during COVID

For the past few weeks, people have been stuck at home in quarantine in hopes to  “flatten the curve” of the virus, but self-isolation could have major effects on the mental health of many.

LISW mental health therapist with Unitypoint Health Jenifer Shaw agrees with the idea that “Self-isolation is having a huge impact on anxiety and depression.” Being essentially trapped inside and only being able to see the nuclear family members can cause damage to mental health. Shaw said that “isolation tends to feed negative thoughts that trigger symptoms.”

Shaw also said that this does not just affect teenagers and adults. “Younger kids may be more scared and irritable and could have more challenging behaviors due to a lot of uncertainty.” On the other hand, though, she said, “They could also feel completely unaffected as they may be enjoying the additional one to one with family.”

Many people who seek out therapy have been forced to move to online methods of treatment. Shaw states that “Virtual therapy is effective and can be easier for those that have travel limitations as well as time constraints that could otherwise limit their ability to get services,” but she personally said she feels that “face-to-face in person is the best option.” This is because “Virtual therapy is challenging.” 

Shaw does admit that virtual therapy can still be a good option if “a true connection can be made as long as genuine empathy is conveyed.”

Shaw said that some tips in order to maintain good mental health during this trying time are to “keep a regular routine, find projects to do, keep up self-care including regular exercise and balanced diet.” 

Shaw also provided advice for parents of teenagers or younger kids who are struggling during this pandemic, which is “talk openly and check in with them about how they are feeling. Listen. Don’t try to fix it for them, and be honest about your feelings as well.”

Unitypoint Health is currently providing therapy through the phone and a certified medical virtual platform for their patients.

Follow this link to Follow these tips for maintaining mental health in these day of isolation


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