SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County Behavioral Health Department urges community members to continue to stay strong as COVID-19 continues to affect the physical and mental health of residents.

As COVID-19 cases rise in San Luis Obispo County, many residents may experience feelings of fear, burnout, frustration, grief, and hopelessness at the chance to get back to normal.

County officials say these feelings are natural and that there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. The County and other agencies, as well as neighbors and community members, are available to support you.

“Remember to take things day by day and to reach out for support when you feel burned out or stressed. Eat nutritious food, exercise, and practice self-care and mindfulness to cope with feelings around COVID- 19,” says Cassie Ueberrhein, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with the County Behavioral Health Department. “Also, focus on what you have control over, such as your own physical distancing, news and social media intake, virtual connections with loved ones, and your daily routine.”

Officials say that youth need extra support in these areas. The excitement of seeing friends and going back to school is not the same as in past years. Students are coping with feelings of missing out, as many of the usual social and extra-curricular experiences have been placed on hold. The community should support local youth and recognize their sacrifices by validating their feelings and acknowledging their grief.

Community members can provide alternate social interactions and recognize and celebrate a youth’s accomplishments, such as getting through the school week, completing virtual tests and assignments, and other personal and academic milestones. Virtual hangouts with friends, report card family dinner celebrations, and family game nights can bring normalcy in a time of so much uncertainty. Officials say youth are resilient and all need to remind them that this time will pass.

Resources to maintain mental wellness during COVID-19 are available at www.slocounty.ca.gov/bhcovid19 and the County Behavioral Health’s social media channels, @slobehavioralhealth.

Contact County Behavioral Health Services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. at 800-838- 1381. If you are in crisis, please call the SLO Hotline at (800) 783-0607. You may also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (The National Warm line) at 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to ‘741-741’.

Visit www.ReadySLO.org for the latest local COVID-19 updates and recommendations or call the SLO Public Health information line at 805-788-2903.

Getting through this together, Atascadero