Life in these strange times: nurturing your mental health

Dr. Celia Spacone is the coordinator of the Erie County Suicide Prevention Coalition. She also placed a great emphasis on suicide prevention in her previous role as executive director of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. She has worked with many people in crisis and has offered them hope to keep fighting for life and for a better tomorrow.

As more and more aspects of our daily lives shut down, we start feeling stress and anxiety about the unknown. So I asked Celia to talk about ways to nurture and to care for our mental health and to encourage children and to support their mental health.

What techniques would you recommend to people to maintain their mental health and feel calm and relaxed?

  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Do what helps you feel safe.
  • Go outside daily and walk, but avoid crowds.
  • Eat healthier than usual!
  • Get sleep on a regular schedule.
  • Try some mindfulness activities.
How can parents can help their children be calm and relaxed?

There is a need to soothe during a crisis like this, with cuddling, reading together, soft voices, and soft touch. Then, schedule and some structure can help increase predictability, which kids like.

What are some things that you would recommend? How about reading, listening to music, or doing creative activities?

Yes, to all three!

How about outdoor time (with social distancing)? How is that helpful for people?

It keeps those endorphins flowin’…

If people run into difficulties, how can they seek help?

If you feel overwhelmed, call Crisis Services 716. 834.3131. Text GOT5 to 741741.  There also is a Peer support warmline 24-7, where you can just talk with someone who understands because of a shared experience. 844.749.3848 or 716.749.3848. 

(For those who may be reading who do not live in Western New York, the toll free number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1.800.273.8255)

Here are a few more resources that Celia recommended!

The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds supports the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and youth. This organization encourages creativity in dealing with mental health issues. This educational site is based in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Celia also suggests reading an article, which can help us pinpoint issues that we might be dealing with during this pandemic. Here is a link: How to handle fear and negative thought during this pandemic

Keep coming back here to look for more tips and pointers on self care when the world is shut down. In the meantime, be well and be safe.

3 thoughts on “Life in these strange times: nurturing your mental health”


    I fear agencies such as these will be overwhelmed during the pandemic- not the least of which reason is that they are not at their offices, themselves.

  2. Great suggestions, thanks for sharing. I like the idea of hugs and snuggles with little ones, that's what I do with Lia! We also keep busy baking and crafts, two of her favorite things.

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