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Counselor talks taking care of your mental health during COVID-19 isolation

Licensed Professional Counselor and Director of Professional Services for The Wellspring, Lisa Longenbaugh, said it's normal to be struggling with mental illness through the COVID-19 isolation, and there's no shame in reaching out for help. Source: (KNOE)
Licensed Professional Counselor and Director of Professional Services for The Wellspring, Lisa Longenbaugh, said it's normal to be struggling with mental illness through the COVID-19 isolation, and there's no shame in reaching out for help. Source: (KNOE)(KNOE)
Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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Licensed Professional Counselor and Director of Professional Services for The Wellspring, Lisa Longenbaugh, said it's normal to be struggling with your mental health through the COVID-19 isolation, and there's no shame in reaching out for help.

Longenbaugh said if someone already struggled with something like depression or anxiety, the isolation can exacerbate that. She said your usual coping mechanisms may not be as effective during this time.

"I think when so many things feel out of our control, it can be really helpful to focus on what we are in control of," she said.

This can mean eating healthy, keeping your routine, and going to bed at a normal time.

However, she said it's also important to keep an eye on any potentially unhealthy habits as well.

"Knowing that, in times of crisis, I tend to what? 'I tend to overeat or I tend to kind of get out of my routine and stay up all night,'" she said.

Longenbaugh said, to an extent, this is normal. However, it's important to have the self-awareness to realize when it may be going too far.

"What feels okay and just feels like 'this is just really different and this is part of how I'm going to be dealing with this and I'm probably going to be five pounds more at the end of it' versus 'this is really, I'm really having a tough time.," she said.

For people who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic who may not be used to reaching out, Longenbaugh wanted to tell them it's not a sign of weakness.

"Like I said, lots of us can use extra supports in place from time to time and I think this is one of those scenarios where, of course, we don't know what to do because this is a scenario that none of us have ever walked through."

The Wellspring is currently offering telehealth counseling sessions. The Wellspring's Hotline for domestic violence and sexual assault can be reached at 318-323-1505.

If you are struggling with any suicidal thoughts, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine can be reached at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

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