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April 2, 2020

SVSU psychology educator offers advice on maintaining mental health during COVID-19

Maintaining a daily routine is one of a number of measures individuals can practice in order to maintain their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Saginaw Valley State University educator advised.

Travis Pashak, associate professor of psychology, offered three tips and resources for those struggling with mental health during the pandemic. They are as follows:

1. This is an unprecedented global crisis, so mental health fluctuations are to be expected. It's perfectly normal to be feeling anxious, upset, sad, angry, etc., about the circumstances. I think we sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to want to label and pathologize every non-happy emotion and every non-smile behavior, and that's simply not reasonable in these times. It's normal to feel.

2. While we're dealing with a lot of collective uncertainty and existential angst, there are some things we can do to protect our sanity. Routine, sleep hygiene, exercise, connecting with friends/family, nutrition, and healthy self-care can all make a positive impact.

3. Lastly, if the above efforts aren't enough and someone feels like they really need help, there are indeed resources available. Suicide hotlines, local therapists offering phone-therapy, crisis textlines, and plenty of self-help materials are only a few clicks away. A few are listed below:

https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/pandemics

https://locator.apa.org/

https://www.crisistextline.org/

https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/backgrounders/backgrounder-1-resilient.html

Pashak this week was interviewed about mental health maintenance during a WNEM, TV-5 feature Wednesday, April 2.