Anxiety is part of the human condition, but the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly raised the emotional stakes. More than one-third of Americans surveyed recently said the pandemic is seriously impacting their mental health.1
Managing anxiety can be challenging on a routine basis, particularly for the more than 40 million people who have an anxiety disorder, the most common mental health concern in the U.S.2 And, during this time of heightened worry and uncertainty, when people are house-bound and feeling isolated, the task becomes more challenging still.
Licensed clinical mental health counselors and other mental health professionals say tuning in to those anxious feelings is a first step toward alleviating them. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests taking small steps. “Even simple actions can make a difference,” NAMI writes in its COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide.3
“Focus on what is in your control,” says Dr. Shelli Friess, a counselor and faculty member in Walden University’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online degree program. “These could even be small things like what you decide to wear or eat for the day, keeping a routine, or setting small goals. Many of those I have worked with have reported feeling better when they can feel a sense of agency by focusing on what they do have control over.”
Experts also recommend continuing or seeking counseling to help cope with feelings of isolation, fear, and uncertainty. Medicare and many health insurance companies have expanded benefits to cover telemental health, so you can talk with a licensed clinical mental health counselor without leaving home.
Here are some other tips that may help you manage anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Sometimes, though, when anxiety is severe, even the gentlest of tasks can feel insurmountable. If you or someone you know is in crisis, trained counselors are available by phone and online 24/7, at no cost. Here are suggested resources from mental health professionals for you to keep and share:
Help Others With a Degree in Counseling
If you seek the challenges and rewards of a career in counseling, now might be a good time earn a degree online from an accredited clinical mental health counseling program. Walden University’s online MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program can prepare you for licensure, and for a career working to help men, women, and children build resilience.
Walden’s clinical mental health counseling online program offers a general program plus five optional specializations: Forensic Counseling; Addiction Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; Military Families and Culture; and Trauma and Crisis Counseling.
With features like rolling start dates and a flexible online learning platform, Walden opens the world of education to adult learners ready to advance their careers. At a time when there are increased mental health concerns, it’s time for compassionate professionals to find their calling as licensed clinical mental health counselors.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a general MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program, and five optional specializations, online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden University’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CACREP accreditation is a requirement for licensure in many states.
Note on licensure: The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for licensing exams and to meet the academic licensure requirements of many state counseling boards. Because no graduate program can guarantee licensure upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate agency to determine specific requirements. For more information about licensure, students should visit the National Board for Certified Counselors at www.nbcc.org/search/stateboarddirectory and/or the American Association of State Counseling Boards at www.aascb.org, and contact the appropriate licensing body. Learn more about professional licensure.