Maintaining Positive Mental Health During COVID-19 Outbreak

April 10, 2020

From Mental Health American (MHA) of Greater Houston

The mental health impacts of the coronavirus are real, significant, growing and must be addressed to limit any additional harm. We have seen a rise in stress and fear as a result of school closures, empty grocery store shelves, and the downturn in our economy. More companies move forward with remote options for employees and government leaders encourage isolation, causing many to feel anxious or distressed.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston’s Board Chair, Dr. Asim Shah, shares two important ways to lessen coronavirus anxiety:

  1. Distinguish the facts from rumors and don’t panic because that can cause more issues than the disease itself.
  2. If we remain calm and limit our exposure to excessive media coverage, we can all handle this better.

Dr. Shah also encourages parents to talk to their children about coronavirus and tell them the facts in language they can understand, without adding additional stress. As this situation develops it’s imperative to give people room to express their emotions and cope in a positive way. Mental Health America of Greater Houston is working hard to lead others out of trauma and towards recovery. For now, it’s crucial for all of us to focus on the positives and be optimistic about our circumstances.

Mental health conditions are by nature isolating, and we want to keep people connected. Create your wellness plan to help you during this time.

  • Make sure you have enough medication on hand.
    • Typically, prescriptions can be filled a week or so before they run out. Refill them on the first possible day, because that can buy an extra few days of lowered stress about a prescription running out and not being able to get to the drug store to fill it.
    • Contact your pharmacy to see if they provide delivery services or if they can provide you a longer supply (30 days versus 90 days)
  • Keep the routines that make you feel good, and try to modify the ones that you can. For example, if you typically go to the gym or fitness class, you can exercise at home.
    • Check to see if local gyms are offering online classes or trial periods for their online sessions.
  • Create a routine.
  • Reach out to friends and schedule virtual hangouts.
  • Find an accountability and support buddy.
  • If you have a therapist, see if they offer telephone or video-based sessions.

If you need mental health support, please express your concerns with a loved one or utilize the resources and hotlines below.

SAMSHA Disaster Distress Helpline

Call 1-800-985-5990

Text TalkWithUs to 66746

MHA 24-hour Crisis Center

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or

Text MHA to 741741

The Harris Center’s Harris County COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line


Mental Health America: Mental Health And COVID-19 – Information and Resources

COVID-19 Mental Health Support

Mental Health Screening 

Living With Mental Illness During COVID-19 Outbreak- Preparing For Your Wellness

World Health Organization: Resources developed by the Mental Health Department as support for mental and psychological well-being during COVID-19.

Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak

Q&A on COVID-19 and Mental Health with WHO’s Aiysha Malik 

Centers for Disease Control: Learning how to cope with fear, stress, and anxiety will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Reducing stress in yourself and others

Information for parents

Information for responders

SAMSHA: Tips for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health

UN NewsMental health in the age of coronavirus