Resources for coping during COVID-19 social distancing
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting our daily lives and schedules, a discussion on mental well-being was reignited among our nation. UTHealth offers resources available to all UTHealth students and direct treatment options to those who need it most.
Appointment are available by calling 713-500-5171. There is a psychiatrist and two psychologists available to help. All appointments are currently being conducted online.
For those experiencing a mental health crisis the I-M-UT Crisis Hotline, 713-500-4688, is a confidential way to get immediate help with assessment, referrals, intervention, and crisis management, anonymously. Accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this is available to all UTHealth students, faculty, and staff, and will triage the caller to the proper services.
Below are mental health tips on what you can use to cope during COVID-19 social distancing.
- Create structure each day by developing a schedule, including time for self-care, focused work, leisure, and connecting with others from a distance, such as by phone, text, or video chatting over coffee.
- Maintain a sleep schedule and routine, and practice good hygiene.
- Maintain regular physical exercise and practice healthy eating habits.
- Monitor your media consumption, note its impact on you, and set appropriate limits. Zahn shares, “For example, if you find yourself having difficulty falling sleep due to anxiety about something you watched on the news or read online right before bed, perhaps setting a media or news cut-off time two hours before bed could help. You can also try reading something positive before bed each night and/or thinking about something or someone you feel grateful for.”
- Try your best to accept that there is uncertainty right now and focus on what you can control.
- As anxiety, grief, and other negative emotions arise, learn to acknowledge them and allow yourself time to feel them and process them, but also set a time limit. “It’s okay to allow yourself to feel these emotions, but you don’t want to spend your entire day focused on them. Participate in a fun activity, such as watching a funny video clip, going for a walk or bike ride, or talking with a friend. This can help to shift your mood and process your feelings,” said Zahn. “If the feelings arise and you don’t have time to process them right away, practice acknowledging the feeling, think of a stop sign, refocus on the task at hand, and give yourself time to process the feeling at a later time, as long as it’s not too close to bedtime. If the feelings become overwhelming, talk with a friend or loved one for support.”
For additional mental health self-help information and tools, UTHealth students can download the Thrive at UT app at no cost through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Download instructions and FAQ can be found online.
UTHealth students also have access to Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), an interactive, self-guided, web-based program funded by UT System that consists of tools and learning modules to help educate and change how one thinks and feels.