Coping With Being Cooped Up During COVID-19 Crisis Is Not Easy

FCMHA says a lot of it is anxiety.


Frederick, Md (KM) Staying at home during the coronavirus crisis can take a toll on people. That’s according to Shannon Aleshire, the CEO of the Frederick County Mental Health Association.

She the biggest problem is anxiety, and concerns about how long it will last. “When you’re talking about a blizzard or a hurricane, you kind of know how long that’s going to last. With this, we don’t know,” she says.

But there are ways to cope. “People can learn to do things inside, like exercise, or connect with family over a  board game; take the opportunity to clean our the closet that you’ve been meaning to clean our,” Aleshire says. “Just stay busy.”

Last week, the Governor ordered all Marylanders to stay home as one way to prevent the spread of  the coronavirus, and only venture out  to buy food and  medications, or to travel to an essential job. But he said residents could go outside to take a walk or jog. to walk the dog or mow the lawn. Just don’t gather in groups of more than ten people.

Aleshire says being required to stay home for a long period of time also brings with it an increase in domestic violence, and  there is some  evidence of it in this community. “Locally, both Child Protective Services and Heartly House have seen a decrease in the number of calls that they’re receiving, and that’s concerning,” she said.

And there is reason for that. “A lot of times victims can’t get away to make these calls and be safe. I would like to point out that the Governor’s stay-at-home order specifically says if you’re not safe, you can seek help,” she says.

For those who are having trouble with coping while stuck at home, the Mental Health Association maintains a hot line. “A lot of our calls right now have to do with factual information about the coronavirus, as well as the anxiety that’s caused by not knowing, or the financial uncertainty that’s come with this crisis.,” Aleshire says.

Anyone who needs help or has questions can call 211 or 1-866-411-6803.   Aleshire says call takers can provide supportive listening or crisis intervention when necessary.

The Association also provides counseling services. “We have virtualized our walk-in behavioral health crisis center,” says Aleshire. “If you go to our website, there’s a COVID-19 banner at the top, and you  click on that. And then request a virtual walk-in visit. And that’s basically a video chat with one of our crisis specialists.”

The web page address is https./



By Kevin McManus