Due to the state of emergency related to coronavirus (COVID-19), daily life has changed, and will continue to be different, for all Ohioans.
Emotional resilience and well-being are critical in maintaining the health and safety of yourself, your family members, and the people you support. To many of the people who receive support, their routines have undergone dramatic changes in a short period of time. That could mean working with new staff, receiving services in different settings, no longer going to work or a day program, experiencing the closure of a favorite place (church, restaurants, etc.), or experiencing changes in how they can contact friends and family.
The first step to decrease anxiety should be ensuring that your family member or the person you provide support for understands what is going on. Use the social stories and plain language resources for ideas about how to explain the state of emergency.
The next step for decreasing anxiety is increasing social connectedness. It is important to remember that social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Social connectedness increases and improves chances of showing resilience to adversity. Creative approaches to staying connected are important. Staying educated and informed is also important. Facts minimize fear. Anxiety and unease will likely increase as everyone's lives continue to be disrupted and social distancing continues.
As a community, everybody must work together with a sense of empathy. As individuals, everyone must stay educated and informed of the facts, stay connected to the people important to them, and be kind to one another and themselves.
These are resources that can help maintain a sense of social connectedness.
Growing Resilience Ebook: This publication is a Strong Families Safe Communities project administered by Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services. This tool helps build resilience for yourself, your family member, or the person you support.
Reflect, Honor, Connect Tool: This tool, created by the Pioneer Center, can be used to guide how to be supportive in a trauma-informed way using the "reflect, honor, and connect" method of communication.
Ways to Connect While Social Distancing: This article gives five ways to maintain social connectedness while responsibly practicing social distancing.
COVID-19 and Anxiety: This tool, created by the Ohio Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, provides ways to cope with strong feelings related to COVID-19.
It is important to receive information from trusted sources. Find accurate and updated COVID-19 news from these sources.
- Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 website
- Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities COVID-19 web page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 website
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services COVID-19 website
The last step is ensuring you, as a family member or direct support professional (DSP), are maintaining your own health and safety. As a caregiver or DSP, taking time for yourself, and promoting self-care, is integral to providing the best support for your loved one or person you support.
Here are some tools for self-care.
Self-Care for DSPs in Crisis: The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) created this video, specific to self-care for DSPs in a crisis.
Self-Care for DSPs: NADSP created this video for DSPs about why self-care is so important and some ways DSPs can focus on caring for themselves.
Working During COVID-19: The University of Washington’s website is a resource for those working during the state of emergency.
Supporting Families During COVID-19: Child Mind Institute has resources for families who are balancing work, child-care, and self-care.
DODD has set up a dedicated web page for department communications and links to helpful resources that will advise people with disabilities, their families, service providers, direct support professionals, county boards of developmental disabilities, and the community at large.
For specific questions about COVID-19 and additional information and resources, DODD urges you to use the Ohio Department of Health’s call center. Call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634), or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.