Let’s all acknowledge that these are tough, unprecedented times. We’ve been thrown off our routines, robbed of our usual social contacts, and plunged into uncertainty.

If there is any silver lining, it’s that by staying home each of us is doing the right thing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, helping ourselves, neighbors, and health care providers and other essential workers.

And we are all in this together.

As Dr. Nirav Shah, head of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said recently, “I ask each of you to recognize that you are not alone. Not in your community. Not in your state. Not in your country.

“We are all in the same boat, where there are more questions than answers right now.”

There are signs that the uncertainty and solitude are getting to many Americans. An ABC News/Washington Post survey found that 70% of people were experiencing stress as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, compared to 61% at the height of the Great Recession.

Mental health advocates are worried about the impact on people with pre-existing mental illness. If you are in a crisis and need help, call the Maine Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112. General information about the outbreak is available by dialing 211 or at 211maine.org, both of which have information on resources related to a broad variety of other topics.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-TALK or by texting TALK to 741741. Mental health resources are available at NAMIMaine.org. NAMI’s mental health hotline can be reached at 1-800-464-5767 (press 1).

There are also worries that the outbreak and resulting stay-at-home orders will stress the child welfare system and domestic violence services.

There is support available for parents and caregivers through the G.E.A.R. Parent Network. If you need to vent, or want support or information on available resources, call 1-800-264-9224 anytime.

Help and advice on domestic violence services is available at 1-866-834-HELP, or 1-800-437-1220 for the hearing impaired. More information is available at mcedv.org.

For everyone, it’s important to take care of yourself and loved ones. Experts suggest finding a new routine that fits within our new reality. Control what you can control, and understand that a lot is out of your power. Eat well, get outside, and don’t watch too much news.

If you’re looking to stay busy, check out the Press Herald’s new section Maine Street for ideas.

And remember that it is physical, not social, distance that is key to slowing the spread of the virus. Find ways to connect with friends and family, and reach out to others you know who may be lonely.

Finally, if you can, help others. Gov. Janet Mills just launched a website — www.maine.gov/governor/mills/covid-19/maine-helps — where Mainers can go to see how they can help other Mainers, or find help themselves.

We’re all in this together, and that’s the best way to get through it.


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