Take care of yourselves and each other during this public health crisis by practicing good mental hygiene.

Some tips sent to us from the Mental Health Association in Forsyth County include:

1. Use your smart phone or other device to stay connected to family and friends. Switch from texting to voice or video calls to feel more connected.

2. If you don’t have a smart phone, use your landline or flip phone do “the next best thing” and reach out to supportive people.

3. Family members, neighbors, and friends can provide daily or periodic check ins with older family members, church members, or neighbors by phone.

4. Keep comfortable. Do the things you already enjoy doing at home; just do more of them.

5. Contact a local assistive living or long-term care facility and mail or email cards, pictures, or drawings to residents who live in these facilities, as they are all on lock down.

6. Practice stress relief whenever you feel anxiety building. Do some deep breathing, meditation, exercise, dig in the garden, watch comedy shows, eat some ice cream — whatever works best for you.

7. Practice gratitude. Find a clean and empty jar in your home. Each and every time you feel grateful — even for the slightest little thing — put a coin, button, or token into the jar. Before you go to bed at night, count how many times you felt grateful for something that day. Empty the jar and start over each day.

8. Don’t do anything you’d consider to be unhealthy for you, such as excessive consumption of alcohol. That will just increase your feelings of depression and anxiety afterwards.

9. Keep looking forward. This will eventually pass. Make some plans for six months down the road.

10. Unplug! Keep abreast of the news, but make time daily to turn off the TV; turn off 24/7 news; get off of the internet; get off of social media. Schedule some time to just unplug.

If you or a loved one needs help with their mental health concerns and are not sure what to do, below are some local mental health resources, available 24/7 by phone.

  1. Cardinal Innovations Healthcare: 1-800-939-5911
    Call this number for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis and/or to access services. Serves the residents of Forsyth, Stokes, Davie, Davidson, and 16 other counties in North Carolina who are uninsured or who have Medicaid. However, during this time, anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call this number for help.
  2. Mobile Crisis/Engagement Services: 1-866-275-9552
    Operated by Daymark Recovery Services in Winston-Salem and other service areas. Mobile Crisis Services serves everyone experiencing a mental health crisis in the community, regardless of resources or lack of resources.
  3. Old Vineyard Behavioral Health: 1-855-234-5920
    Call to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins welcome and/or referrals from community providers.