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How mental health may be impacted by a second statewide stay-at-home order

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Posted at 10:45 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-17 23:59:16-05

Governor Gavin Newsom says he's waiving a red flag as the state sees a record number of COVID-19 cases.

51 of the state's 58 counties are now in the state's most restrictive tier, which could lead to a second lockdown.

"We are assessing this in real-time over the next day or two, to make determinations of moving those in purple tier status to something that is more in line with the stay-at-home order that people were familiar with at the start of this year," Newsom said.

Mental health professionals say while restrictions have loosened these past few months, the pandemic is still impacting many people.

"For some reason in October, in particular, we had quite a jump in calls [to the SLO Hotline] compared to previous months, and even compared to the same time last year. We had about 400 more calls this October compared to last October.. so many more people are reaching out for help, inquiring about services, trying to get connected to support in the community," explained Meghan Boaz Alvarez, Clinical Director of Transitions Mental Health Association.

So what would a second lockdown mean for those who may be struggling?

"If you're being honest with yourself, you really want to be able to do things, and yet we know there are certain limitations. What I would expect to see is even more people feeling depressed or disappointed because we're coming into a time when people have certain celebrations that they do," said Anne Robin, Behavioral Health Director of San Luis Obispo County.

Experts say it's best to make sure you are taking care of yourself better, like eating healthier and spending time outdoors.

"[Think about] what are some of things that I can do to take care of myself all while giving ourselves grace around that by saying: "Okay, I realize I am not at my best right now and I have to accept that for now and know it won't always be this way"," Nancy Ranck, Behavioral Health Program Director of Family Service Agency said.

"Don't think about how a holiday is coming and I must do it this way, think of a way to create a new tradition in this new format that you can celebrate and enjoy. It's going to take people thinking about doing things in a new way to keep them and their loved ones safe, but also make the most of their lives and enjoy this time of year," Robin said.

These experts say some of the best things you can do is instead of texting friends or family, try talking on the phone or scheduling a video call. They believe that sometimes seeing someone and hearing their voice can be more comforting than receiving a text.

The SLO Hotline is available for those who need help with mental health resources in the community at 800-783-0607.

Transitions Mental Health is offering text support on that hotline number, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..

Family Service Agency in Santa Barbara County is offering counseling online for those who do not feel comfortable meeting face to face.