How to minimize the long-term mental health effects of COVID-19

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 09:24:21-04

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after a shocking or dangerous event directly impacts you. During this kind of event, you think yours or someone else’s life is in danger.

About eight percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and around eight million adults have PTSD during any given year. But now with the COVID pandemic, will these numbers increase dramatically?

Research shows people quarantined for longer than ten days show significantly higher post-traumatic stress symptoms than those isolated for a shorter period of time. Being stuck at home, what can we do to keep our families mentally healthy?

“You have to project strength and confidence for your child,” explains Oksana Hagerty, PhD, a developmental psychologist at Beacon College.

Keep young children stimulated with puzzles or brain games. With your older children, encourage them not to give up on long-term plans, such as applying for college or keeping up with their hobbies.

“When people are depressed, they tend to exit the contexts and activities that are usually healthy,” shared Hagerty.

Experts believe self-care is key. Eat well, stay active, and prioritize sleep. If constant COVID updates have consumed you, step away from the news reports. These can be the most damaging, inflicting fear and panic that could directly affect your mental health long-term.

“We will be fine, just don't allow these to change your life forever,” said Hagerty.

If you do need professional help, there are multiple ways you can seek therapy. Companies like Talkspace at or BetterHelp at offer online therapy options, or search for a therapist in your local area at

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