Mental Health During COVID

By Becky Wilken, Faith Community Nurse at SOTV

Here we are:
We are all COVID weary…big time. Life as we knew it has changed immensely. There is plenty of stress, fear, and uncertainty to go around. The vaccinating has begun, but we are told it will not be until fall, if all goes well, that we can resume normal activity. My heart goes out to parents trying to balance work, family, helping school their children. To our seniors who are isolated either at home or in assisted living. To people out of work not able to make payments, losing housing and more. There is an increase in depression, anxiety, even suicide. All of this isolation, especially during a Minnesota winter, is taking a toll.

The Challenge:
Our challenge is to keep on, and to stay safe. Boy, is that a tough one some days! It’s easy to lose motivation. We are not meant to be alone and isolated…we are community oriented beings. While a lot of us know what to do to keep ourselves as safe and healthy as possible, we have grown weary of doing it. It’s like we are trying to live our lives in a cage and we so long to break free. We know that it continues to be of paramount importance to distance, wear masks and avoid risks. We do not want to be the next casualty in this very real pandemic.

What can we do?
Know that there are degrees of mental health difficulties. If you or someone you know are feeling suicidal or having thoughts of self-harm, reach out for help and connection. Don’t suffer alone. A Red Flag: If you are not able, or totally unmotivated, to accomplish your activities of daily living…reach out for help and connection.

  • Call Dakota County Crisis at 952.891.7171.
  • Call your primary care clinic to connect with your provider.
  • Contact Shepherd of the Valley at 952.432.6351. Pastors and Faith Community Nurses have access to resources that range from crisis intervention to supportive phone counseling or a listening ear.
  • Find out what your insurance offers.
  • Focus on things we CAN DO that make a difference to ourselves and others.
  • Utilize the powerful tool of mindfulness and try to look at things from a positive perspective.

While some things are beyond our control, there is much we can do. We each have our ways of coping. For me, getting outdoors to walk vigorously helps my angst, along with prayer, yoga stretches, music, purposeful work or volunteering, and staying connected with friends and family. I find that keeping up with personal grooming and putting on nice clothing daily helps me. I’m grateful for my spouse Bill, as he is motivated to walk with me and keep up on healthy eating (he’s the better cook). Fastidious self-care has become tougher through this long pandemic, but well worth the effort. Stay connected!

For assistance in taking the next steps in caring for your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, please contact SOTV at 952.432.6351.

SOTV works with Ellie Family Services to offer emotional wellness and
mental health services.
To learn more about this option, visit