Rep. Sharice Davids hosts Q&A to address mental health concerns during global pandemic

April 3, 2020
In The News

Between uprooted routines and limited opportunity for social interaction, there’s rising concerns about mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

To address these concerns — and offer solutions — U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids on Thursday hosted a question and answer session with Johnson County Mental Health Center Deputy Director Susan Rome.

“I know a lot of folks are really feeling the impacts of this, whether it’s on their physical health, mental [or] emotional health, their economic stability and security,” Davids said. “I wanted to take a chance to talk about the mental and behavioral aspect of what this public health crisis is doing.”

Davids asked questions about the types of mental and emotional health needs that might arise during a crisis such as this pandemic, how to recognize one’s feelings as anxiety or stress, and how to cope with these feelings.

Rome said one of the most important ways to cope with experiencing the combination of fear, anxiety and stress is to focus on what we can control.

Below is a brief list of coping tips Rome suggested:

  • Exercise
  • Establish a routine
  • Check in on loved ones
  • Get some fresh air
  • Stay informed, but limit news consumption

At this point in time, Rome said she feels almost everyone is experiencing some level of anxiety — whether or not it can be diagnosed.

The pandemic is what Rome said she would call an “acute period of time” where everyone has concerns that are different from their normal day to day.

Rome said a term used by JCMHC that applies to this situation is “radical acceptance,” meaning the situation has to be accepted as best it can, whether or not people like it or are happy with it.

“We say a lot around here: ‘It’s okay to not be okay,’ and that kind of takes on a whole new meaning right now,” Rome said.