Mental Health in a Pandemic

A Shoulder to Lean On

We’re now almost a year in to the pandemic that stopped life as we knew it in its tracks. As families around the world are feeling the strain, some right here in our own community now have a new shoulder to lean on.

Monique Worrell, a licensed clinical social worker and TAP Head Start’s behavioral health coordinator, recently started a mental health support group for Head Start and Early Head Start parents during these trying times. As she puts it, “Our current challenging times come along with increased stress, financial hardships, and social isolation that can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms and depression.”

Monique hopes that by providing a community of support, as well as a series of workshops focusing on mental health and wellness topics, local families will have the tools they need to better manage the “new normal.” The workshops span an array of topics that many families may currently be struggling with, such as How to Deal with Your Child’s Behavior and Emotional Support for Virtual Learning.

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

While these workshops certainly provide invaluable information, one of the most important things a parent can do for his or her family is to make sure their own mental health is in check. Monique emphasizes basic mental wellness tips that anyone can follow, including:

  • Setting limits on when and for how long you consume news, as well as verifying sources and making sure they are reputable;
  • Following a daily routine, including getting dressed and practicing good hygiene;
  • Taking care of yourself through exercise and mindfulness; and
  • Doing meaningful things in your free time such as reading a book, crafting, organizing your home, or journaling.

Above all, Monique says it’s important to stay connected with others, maintain your social networks, and reach out for help when you need it. Whether it’s an email to friends and family, participating in a virtual support group, or calling a peer support line, sharing how you’re feeling and connecting with others who may share your experiences can go a long way in alleviating the feelings of isolation and anxiety that many are experiencing.

Lastly, you can remain confident that TAP will continue working hard to create communities of support for those who need it most—in the good times and bad.