FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Leaders from the Allen County Health Department joined by local medical professionals addressed questions about the mental state of residents during this COVID-19 outbreak. This comes as the Indiana State Department of Health released updated numbers of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases and deaths.

Another Allen County resident has died from the virus and there are six more cases, bringing the local total to two deaths and 36 cases. As of this afternoon, the state’s death count was 49 and 374 people have tested positive. That brings the total to more than 2,100 confirmed cases across the state. Nearly 1,000 of them are in Marion County. 

For many, these numbers can do a number on your mental health. 

With all the uncertainty amid the COVID-19 outbreak many people are now dealing with fear and anxiety. Health professionals say it’s normal. They’re offering tips to help you stay healthy physically and mentally.

  • Limit interaction with social media and television  
  • While social distancing is encouraged – doctors say don’t socially isolate 
  • Be creative in the way you stay socially connected with each other
  • So go outside. Be in nature
  • Keep working out on a regular basis and eating healthy
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
  • Perhaps most importantly, maintain a good sleep schedule

“With everybody’s schedule being thrown off, with folks being home from work and school, it can be tempting to stay up through the night,” said Siquilla Liebetrau, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Bowen Center. “You can be flexible but I think maintaining that sense of routine in general and especially sleep routine is very important.”

Many who have kids at home may be wondering how to navigate this new normal for the unforeseeable future. For those with older children, you may be wondering how to talk with them about these new changes as a result of the novel Coronavirus.

  • Medical professionals said the key is to try to keep a routine.
  • For older children,  limit what you say about the virus around them but be sure to ask them what kinds of questions they have. 
  • Keep in mind the way you answer a five-year-old is different than the way you answer a 15-year-old. 
  • It’s important to talk with kids about what you are doing and others like health professionals are doing to keep them safe.  

“We are social distancing, we are hand-washing, we are coughing into our elbow,” said Liebetrau. “These are all things that we are doing as a family to keep you safe. If you were to get sick, there are doctors and nurses that can take care of you. You are very much giving a sense of safety and security to them.” 

In uncertain times parents can expect to see anxiety in their children. That can sometimes translate into regressive behavior, acting out, or even wetting the bed. Health professionals said the key is to not react harshly and be patient.