MORONGO BASIN — The novel coronavirus, in addition to its physical health impacts on Americans, has disrupted the lives and mental health of millions.

Many in the Morongo Basin and across the nation now face uncertainty over their health and that of their families, social isolation and employment.

“The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic can and is having an effect on people’s physical and mental health,” Dr. Bruce Schwartz, president of the American Psychiatric Association, said in a news release.

“During this time, it is important to do what we can to maintain self-care and manage the stress.”

Dr. Austin Puglisi, a local psychiatrist and director of behavioral health for the Morongo Basin Healthcare District, shared several recommendations to care for your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s stay-at-home orders.

All of the health care district’s behavioral health providers are working from home via telephone for patient visits, CEO Jackie Combs reported.

Puglisi recommends the following for mental health and wellness:

•Stay in touch with friends and family who don’t live with you via telephone, social media, Skype, etc. Especially reach out to people who may be isolated.

•Spend time with your family and pets (if you have not been advised to self-quarantine).

•Get outside for fresh air and exercise, if you can do so while maintaining social distancing.

•Be mindful of your news consumption and do not watch the news 24/7.

•Remember that not every scary thing you read on the internet or social media is true.

•Remind yourself that there is a purpose to staying at home; that our short-term sacrifice is likely to prevent worse problems later.

•Remind yourself that the current state of life is temporary.

A new national poll by the American Psychiatric Association says Americans’ fears about coronavirus are spiking and seriously affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Nearly half of Americans in the national poll (48 percent) are anxious about the possibility of getting COVID-19 and nearly four in 10 Americans are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, but far more Americans (62 percent) are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus. This is according to a national poll released on March 25 by the American Psychiatric Association.

More than one-third of Americans (36 percent) say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health. More than half of all adults ((57 percent) are concerned that the coronavirus will have a serious negative affect on their finances and almost half are worried about running out of food, medicine and/or supplies.

Two-thirds of Americans fear that the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.

About one in three adults is concerned about not being able to access tests and health care if needed.

Most people report that, despite the high levels of anxiety resulting from coronavirus, they have not yet felt significant behavioral impacts. Nineteen percent report having trouble sleeping, 8 percent have been consuming more alcohol or other drugs and 12 percent say they have been fighting more with partner or loved ones because of being stuck at home together.

Nearly one in four people say they have had trouble concentrating on other things because they are thinking about coronavirus.

 “In the face of this epidemic, paying attention to our mental health and those of our friends and families will help us persevere,” Schwartz said.

In speaking with children about the coronavirus, the APA the most important thing for them to understand is that their concerns are being heard, and the adults in their lives are doing everything they can to keep them safe and healthy.

Spend time, if possible, in normal activities with them and listen to what’s on their minds.

For more information:

American Psychiatric Association:

American Psychological Association:

Centers for Disease Control:

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