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Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

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.

Protect yourself from flu

girl using hand sanitizer

We’re in the middle of a very active flu season and we’re starting to see cases of influenza at our medical clinic. Here’s how you can protect yourself from the flu and get the care you need!

Know the symptoms

Make sure you know the symptoms of flu and cold, and when to see a health care provider. Remember that flu viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

If you feel sick, stay home

You might not want to miss class, work, or other responsibilities, but the most important thing you can do is rest and avoid spreading germs to others.

According to the university policy on absences, instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals. If your instructor asks for a note, you can provide the Cougar Health Services letter on excused student absences.

Get medical care

You can make an appointment at our medical clinic online or over the phone. Keep in mind that our same-day appointments are limited due to short-staffing. If you need or want to seek care from a community provider, we can help you with referrals and questions.

You can also call our main line at 509-335-3575 for 24/7 advice from nursing staff. When the clinic is closed, your call will be directed to a nurse at Harborview Medical Center.

If you have mild cold or flu symptoms, check out our guide on managing symptoms at home.

Protect yourself from flu

Try to avoid spreading germs and practice healthy habits for preventing flu. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time! The peak of flu season can run through March, and flu activity can continue until May.

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurances. Check with your insurance provider for details on your coverage and where to go. You can check with our clinic on our flu shot supplies and make an appointment by calling 509-335-3575.

WSU Monitoring 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The health of the Cougar community is our priority. We want to provide accurate resources for current information and preventative tips to help minimize the spread of illness. Updates that are specific to the WSU community will be provided on the Cougar Health Services website.

We are working with Whitman County Public Health and other University leadership to monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. Current information about the coronavirus is provided by the CDC

What is this novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV)?

2019‑nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS‑CoV and SARS‑CoV, have caused severe illness.

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a serious public health threat. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.

That said, the CDC considers the immediate health risk from 2019‑nCoV to the general American public to be low at this time. There are no confirmed cases among WSU community members.

As of January 31, 2020, there are only six confirmed cases in the United States, one of which is in Snohomish County and is unrelated to WSU.

Information about the symptoms, transmission and treatment for 2019‑nCoV is available on the CDC webpage.

Can you travel to or from China?

The CDC has issued a level 3 warning for travel to China and recommends avoiding all non‑essential travel to China. The U.S. Department of State updated its China Travel Advisory on January 30, 2020, to “Do Not Travel” to China.

Accordingly, we ask that members of the WSU community not travel to China, until such time as the CDC and Department of State downgrade their travel advisories.

If you must travel to China:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.

In addition, if you must travel to China, register your travel through WSU’s international travel insurance. By registering your travel, emergency assistance is more readily available and you will have access to specific risk information about your destination(s).

What are the best prevention measures?

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus. The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Where is WSU posting information about the 2019‑nCoV outbreak?

Updates and additional information are available on the Cougar Health Services website.

If you have questions about travel to or from China, please contact Global Services in International Programs: ip.globalservices@wsu.edu; 509‑335‑4508.

If you have personal medical questions, please contact your medical provider.

 

AS A REMINDER, WE ARE STILL IN AN ACTIVE FLU SEASON:

The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. For students, Cougar Health Services still has flu vaccines available. Schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling 509-335-3575.

For more information about the Coronavirus, international travel safety, the seasonal flu, and ways to stay healthy, please visit the following links: