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NE officials discuss mental health in Wednesday press conference

Latest on state's response
Pete Ricketts
Posted at 2:01 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:16:45-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Mental health and self-care were at the forefront of Gov. Ricketts' COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday.

During the press conference, officials said that it's important to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically during the pandemic.

Director of the Division of Behavioral Health with the Department of Health and Human Services, Sherri Dawson, R.N, urged people to take 15 minutes for themselves each day to focus on self-care.

Dawson suggested music, meditation, walks and prayer as some activities to ease stress.

Additionally, she said getting adequate sleep and exercise and building a routine are beneficial to our mental health.

Some tips for children and teenagers she suggested include encouraging conversations with adults and caregivers, reminding youth that they can be open with adults, helping them problem solve and assisting them in developing different coping skills.

Dawson reminded people to encourage mental health awareness and conversations, adding that more widespread isolation and economic issues could be leading to increased struggles with mental health.

Officials said to be aware of the following signs of mental health issues and to reach out if they're identified in friends and loved ones:

  • Withdrawal
  • Agitation
  • Hopelessness
  • Change in routine: sleep all day, may not want to get dressed
  • Personality: not experiencing joy and life as usual

Dawson added that while reaching out is a good first step, encourage the person struggling to contact professionals if they're in severe distress.

The Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660 makes it easier for families to obtain mental health assistance by providing a single contact point 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Gov. Ricketts also told people to "stay tuned" regarding restrictions being loosened in June.

You can watch the briefing below:

You can also watch the stream here.

You can find all our coronavirus coverage here.