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Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

student in room studying book

The mental health impact of this pandemic is very real.  If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed, you are not alone. Most people have never experienced such a large-scale challenge, and this one may affect our mental and physical well-being, our finances, our social connections, and the health and safety of our loved ones.  Isolation, changes in school and employment, and concern about our families and friends can increase feelings of worry, fear, and sadness. It’s even harder to navigate these challenges when we may not have access to our typical coping strategies and ways of practicing self-care.

We’re all learning new ways to cope and adapt to new daily habits and uncertainty about what the future holds. Please check out the resources below for help in developing and maintaining healthy habits, and for information about ways to access help if you need it.

Virtual Workshops with CAPS Staff

Tips and Resources from our CAPS Counselors in Cougar Health Services:

Text “@Stress” to 73940 to get personalized stress management techniques sent to your phone.

We will check in with you occasionally to see how you are doing and we will send you regular tips and reminders for lowering stress, customized to your individual stress level. We have adapted some of our content to be particularly helpful in addressing COVID-19 related stress.

You may also benefit from checking out techniques to cope with worry, stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, outlined by our community partners at Palouse River Counseling (PRC).

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be providing all services by secure Zoom or telephone. Please call the reception desk at 509-335-4511 during regular business hours to access services, whether you are a current counseling client, current psychiatry client, or a student who wants to start counseling.

Handwashing: a small habit with a big impact

clasped hands under running water in a sink with soap suds

Washington State University is reminding students, faculty and staff that washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the tools identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for helping combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or flu. Handwashing prevents the spread of infections by reducing the number of germs introduced to our own bodies when touching our eyes, nose or mouth and reducing germs transferred to common objects like phones, hand rails, buttons, and door knobs.

Wash your hands often.

Washing hands at key times with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to get rid of germs and avoid spreading germs to those around you.

When you should wash your hands:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

Do it right.

Follow these five steps every time you wash your hands.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum “Happy Birthday” twice or sing the WSU Fight song (without all the clapping of course).
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and water aren’t available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you want to spread the word and not germs, you can get images, videos and posters to print and share at the CDC Health Promotion materials website. This information was provided by and adapted from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

Get stress management tips on your phone

student texting on phone
student texting on phone

Feeling stressed, need help coping, or just want tips for managing your stress? We can help!

Join our text messaging program and we will:

  • Check in with you every week to see how you’re doing
  • Send you weekly tips for lowering stress
  • Share information about health-related events and resources around campus
  • On average, you would receive no more than 2 or 3 text messages per week
  • Messages & data rates may apply.

To sign up, text “@STRESS” to 73940. You can join at any point in the semester!

time.

  • To cancel the messages, you can reply with STOP.
  • To get more information, you can reply with HELP.

Content within the text messaging program adheres to the WSU Privacy Policy.

You can also check out our stress management workshops and other programs.

The risks of sleeping in your contacts

contact lens on finger

The risks of sleeping in your contacts

Imagine it’s late, you’re really tired and you just want to sleep. You might be tempted to skip removing your contacts and head straight to bed.

But before you climb under the covers, it’s really important that you take your contacts out. Sleeping in contacts can compromise the health of your eyes. More specifically, here’s what can happen:

Your eyes can be deprived of oxygen. Your cornea, the part of your eye you place a contact on top of, needs oxygen from the air. Wearing contacts blocks oxygen from getting to your cornea. This only gets worse when your eyes are closed during sleep.

New blood vessels may start to form on corneas that aren’t getting enough oxygen. This condition, called corneal neovascularization, can cause a permanent reduction in vision, blurry vison or eye infections. The resulting damage can prevent you from wearing contact lenses or being a candidate for LASIK surgery in the future.

You could get a bacterial infection. Sleeping in contacts increases your risk of getting an infection called bacterial keratitis. This condition can cause permanent damage to the cornea. Some people who get bacterial keratitis may require a corneal transplant.

You might get dry eyes. Sleeping in contact lenses can cause dry eyes and increase your risk of having an allergic reaction to your contact lenses. This reaction, called giant papillary conjunctivitis, involves large bumps forming underneath your eyelids, making contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Some contact lenses are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to sleep in. However, when you read the fine print, you’ll find even these lenses can cause complications. Sleeping in these contacts can increase your risk of eye infection by 10 to 15 times compared to not sleeping in contact lenses.

The good news is all of these conditions are preventable by simply taking out your contact lenses before bedtime. Try getting in the routine of taking out and caring for your contacts every night.

If you have any questions, call or stop by our vision clinic.