The Novel Coronavirus - Israel Ministry of Health

 

Maintaining Your Mental Health


Publication date: 31/03/2020, 10:26 | Update date: 14/04/2020, 12:40
 
 

Mental coping

The last few weeks and months naturally and understandably have caused mental stress, including feelings of uncertainty and helplessness. In this situation, we can improve our mental coping, and that of those around us.

Strategies to cope with stress and loss of control

  • Normalizing Emotions – It is legitimate and normal during this time to feel negative emotions like fear, sadness, loneliness, or uncertainty. Allow yourself to feel these emotions.
  • Sharing – Don’t be afraid to share your feelings with others. Sharing with others is healthy. With that, for young children, parents can often be a “protective edge”, and it is important for parents to keep calm and optimistic. Explain to them that they are not in danger, as the danger for children is minimal.
  • Perspective – You too may be facing a difficult emotional state. Do not despair. You may recall that, wen you dealt with difficult events in the past, coping came in the form of a wave. The difficulty initially increases, and then it decreases. Keep perspective. This too shall pass.
  • What Worked for Me in the Past? – Each of us has strength, and it’s time to remember what got you to this point in life. Remember how you dealt with previous crises and what skills helped you. Try to apply those skills now.
  • Coming Together – Remember the strength of our family, community, and nation. You’re not alone! All of humanity is dealing with this situation, and we will get through it together.
  • Hope – Always remember that there is hope. It’s always darkest before the dawn. The coronavirus will pass just as it came, and we most of it will come out healthy.
  • Lowering Anxiety – Learn what things help you reduce anxiety and do them in a healthy manner. Listen to music. Exercise. Converse with friends and family. Look out the window.
  • Routine – Create a daily routine for yourself and your family members during the quarantine. Routine reduces anxiety.
  • Foster Social Connections – Don’t become socially isolated just because of the closure. Social connections contribute to mental health, and it is important to use the means we have in this digital age to strengthen them. Although you may be home alone and have some physical remoteness, maintain emotional closeness and frequent contact with family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
  • Physical Activity – Include in your routine physical activity so that you don’t just sit around all day. Each physical activity in the house is great and helps your physical and mental health.
    More information on physical activity during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Treat Yourself – This is an opportunity to treat yourself: to find new interests, to take online courses, to read, to listen to lectures, to see online presentations, to listen to music, to practice breathing, to do relaxation exercises and guided meditation. There are many resources on the web, use them!
  • Personal Emotional Resilience – Take the opportunity to strengthen your personal emotional resilience, and practice your emotional, interpersonal, behavioral, mental, and psychological skills to deal with the current situation.
  • Improve Personal Skills – It is recommended to work on personal skills such as the ability to deal with uncertainty and calm yourself, your problem-solving abilities, the ability to see thoughts as “just thoughts” and so on.
  • Limit your News Watching – Try to go on a “news diet.” Get your information once or twice a day at most. Watching too much news might increase your anxiety.
  • Receiving updates from authorized and official agencies – Make sure you receive reliable information, at a reasonable frequency, with an emphasis on the required practical preparations. Make sure you comply with the current guidance published in the Ministry of Health's website.
  • Support and assistance – Pay attention to yourselves and those around you. If you experience difficulty coping with the situation, you should seek help.
 
 
 
 

Parents and children

  • Parents of Young Children
    • Try to give off an air of calm and control. It is important to inform the children according to their age and allow them to be partners in effective coping. Take advantage of the crisis to teach children coping skills for life.
    • Explain the situation reliably but simply, age-appropriately and optimistically, while ensuring that they are not overly exposed to non-age-appropriate news.It is important to give children a sense that adults are not helpless against the situation.
    • Notice the behavioral expressions of the children who express difficulty, this is their way of expressing emotions. At any age, even with toddlers, name the emotion that comes, for example, fear, worry, and more, explaining that their response is natural to the situation and shared with other children, and that they can help ease their feelings.
    • Find ways to help deal with the sense of uncertainty and the free time. For example, note what day it is, or make a diary of experiences for young children as a way to keep track of days gone by.
  • Parents of Teenagers
    • Try to set a daily routine where at least 2-3 times a day, you ensure direct encounter with the teenager who is likely in their room most of the day. They will feel part of the family and feel that it is important for you to see them and hear feelings.
    • Take note of their mood and try to be attentive to other events that children also experience in the virtual social space. Remember that even the most abrasive adolescents need to be recognized and loved.

Further information on a healthy routine for children

 
 
 
 

Older adults

  • Despite the quarantine, don't be emotionally isolated. Keep in touch, seek help, and be active in the home and stay hopeful.
  • Video conference with loved ones. You can request that they send videos of grandchildren, children, family members that will be available to watch if you feel lonely. Browsing family photos that evokes fond memories can also ease your anxiety.
  • Recall what helped you cope in the past that you can apply today and what you want to do in "The Day After."
  • It's a great time to open up to new interests.
  • It is advisable to maintain adequate waking hours and skip rest during the day to facilitate continuous sleep at night.
  • Remember that everyone is stressed and does not always remember to be interested in your safety. Be the ones to make calls when you miss others.

More information on a healthy routine for older adults.

 
 
 
 

Recommended activities for the new routine

Recommendations how to maintain your mental health during isolation:

  • Breathing and physical exercise – It is recommended that you start the morning with breathing exercises and some physical activities.
  • Learn something new every day – Surely there are plenty of things that you wanted to get into, to learn, and to immerse yourself in, but never had the time. This is exactly the time to learn everything that you've never had any time for. You can find free online courses at Campus.il.
  • Happy memories – When we remind ourselves of happy times and people that we love, the various good chemicals that keep us health and happy are released. This is exactly the time to organize the family photos and the family videos that are piling up. It is time to remember joint vacations and funny moments, to arrange slideshow presentations and videos clips for every family member. This is an unforgettable gift, and gifts bring us special joy. Below are recommended album editing software with tutorials.
  • It is a great mitzvah to be happy – Laughter is good for the health. When we laugh our stress levels reduce automatically. It's time to do everything that makes you laugh.
  • Reduce smartphone notifications – Technology generates stress, these days more than ever. In generally it is recommended that you significantly reduce your consumption of news on television and in social media. However, you should continue following the Ministry of Health's guidances.
  • If you're happy and you know it clap your hands – Music reduces stress levels, increases pleasure chemicals and augments your immune system. Researchers found that music can dramatically lower stress levels. Surrender yourself to your favorite soundtrack and let all the good stuff flood your body and mind.
  • The wonders of writing – You've always wanted to write. You've got a story inside of you that's just bursting to see the light of day. This is exactly the time to do so. Writing people are happy people. Writing gives a good feeling of doing something and of meaning, and helps process feelings and thoughts. Additionally, writing is an action, and it brings us from thinking to doing.
  • Science lovers – If you love science, Davidson Institute has got something just for you! Quizzes, trivia and interesting articles on science and technology.
  • Playing games – Games too are good for your health and enhance your brain. Play as many board games as you can or create your very own escape room – Take some time off the come up with riddles and timed tasks and to move between the rooms in the house.
  • Nighty night – Sleep is important for the health of the brain. It is recommended that you go to bed early, keep your cell phone away from the room, do a couple of breathing exercises for good slumber, listen to relaxing music before bed, banish negative thoughts and let the positive thoughts fill us.
 
 
 
 

Medical professionals

  • Be aware of the emotional burden on you and do not stay emotionally isolated. Share with others and take care of yourself emotionally.
  • Take advantage of short breaks for self-preserving activities (sports, meditation, music, etc.).

Further information about the professional and task-specific telephone support line for medical teams, healthcare system employees and retired employees, and members of their families that cope with COVID-19

 
 
 
 

Seeking professional help

Powerful emotional responses are normal reactions to a situation of crisis or significant stress. They usually tend to dissipate after several weeks, during which children and adults resume routine and normal activities. Should those emotional responses persist beyond two weeks or worsen, and significantly impair children or parents' capacity to function, you should consider seeking professional help.

 
 
 
 

Assistance and counseling in mental health

  • HMO Hotlines
    • Clalit *2700
    • Maccabi 1700-50-53-53 or *3555
    • Meuhedet *3833
    • Leumit 1700-507-507 or *507
  • ERAN Association 1201 – Mental Health
    24 hours a day. Also via chat, e-mail or SMS
    • Telephone: 1201
    • Extension 6 – Hebrew, extension 2 – Arabic
    • The number for Russian speakers: 1-800-241-201
    • The number for Arabic speakers: 1-700-501-201
    • E-mail: era21@smile.net.il
    • Website: www.eran.org.il
  • Ministry of Education Support Hotline – Support in stressful situations, and counseling for students.
    Sunday through Thursday between 08:00-16:00 
  • Yad BeYad – Ozen Kashevet – Counseling for Teenagers
    Every day between 09:00-23:00, including weekends and holidays
    • Telephone 03-6204999 or *2228
    • Address: 36 HaNevi'im Street, Tel Aviv
    • Website: www.yadbeyad.org.il
  • Noar Makshiv LeNoar – Emergency Hotline
    • טלפון: 03-6919765
      Sunday through Thursday, 14:30-17:00.
    • Phone: 03-6768219
      Sunday through Thursday 16:00-19:00
  • Children and Youth Protection Center – First response for physically or mentally abused teenagers and children
    Sunday through Thursday between 08:00-16:30
  • SAHAR – Siua VeHakshava BaReshet – Online support for people in mental stress
    Chat in Hebrew, Arabic, and English
  • Bayit Cham – Counseling hotline for mental support and assistance in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian and Yiddish
    Sunday through Thursday 24 hours, Friday until 14:00, Saturday – an hour and a half after the end of Shabbat
    • Phone: 073-2800-500
  • ELI – HaAguda LeHaganat HaYeled –Protection against sexual abuse of children
    Sunday through Thursday between 08:00-18:00, Friday between 08:00-12:00
  • Retorno –Hotline for supporting victims of addictions
    Daily between 10:00-22:00
    You can contact us via WhatsApp, phone or e-mail 
  • Al-Sam – Drug-related counseling and therapy for youth, parents, and adults   
    • National Headquarters phone number: 03-5465577
      Sunday through Thursday between 08:30-16:00
    • First aid hotline: 1-700-505-055
      24 hours a day
  • Authority for Prevention of Violence, Alcohol and Drug Abuse 
    24-hour hotline
    • Phone: 1-700-500-508
  • Hafuch Al Hafuch – Information and counseling center for youth by ELEM Association.
    You may approach us on any issue.
  • Kfar Shaul – The website of the professionals from Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center   
  • Counseling centers for the families of people with mental disabilities by the Mental Health Rehabilitation System 
    The centers have switched to a work routine based on phone, e-mail or Zoom, in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian and Amharic.
    • YAHEL Center – Counseling and support for the families of people with mental disabilities
      Sunday through Thursday between 10:00-18:00
      • Phone: 03-9559596
    • MELAM – Counseling and support for the families of people with mental disabilities
      Sunday through Thursday between 09:00-16:00
      • Phone: 074-7556155
    • Yadid Nefesh – Counseling and support for the families of people with mental disabilities
      You may leave a message with us at any time, and our representatives will get back to you between 08:00-20:00
      • Phone: 074-7292859
    • Ezer MiZion – Counseling and support for the families of people with mental disabilities
      Sunday through Thursday between 10:00-13:00, Saturday between 16:00-20:00
      • Phone: 1-800-303012
    • Hadi – Counseling and support center for families in the Arab community 09:00-16:00

 

 
 
 
 

Further Information on coping with the new routine

• Strategies for isolation
• Healthy routine for children
• Keep active
• Healthy nutrition

 
 
 
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