Help Navigating the Unknown

A new online tool is one easy way to help people manage their feelings through the pandemic.

by Denise Molina-Weiger, OSF HealthCare
Couple showing support
SilverCloud delivers online therapeutic and psycho-education programs for behavioral health support.

While we may not know how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact us in the future, we do know one thing. Our world will likely never be the same. And that can have many on edge. From wondering when you will be able to visit, hug and kiss your loved ones who live far away, to when you will be able to rebuild your 401(k), there are a lot of unknowns that can leave you feeling vulnerable.

“Human beings are notoriously bad at managing ambiguity, and not knowing the long-term outcomes of this situation is no exception,” said Luke Raymond, manager of Behavioral Health Services for OSF HealthCare. “We often jump to the worst possible outcome, focus on the negative and make decisions based on fear rather than rationality.”

In the Aftermath
Like the concerns that arose from stay-at-home orders in March, OSF HealthCare Behavioral Health Services expects to see negative effects on the emotional and behavioral well-being of individuals well after the pandemic’s aftermath. This includes mood changes such as irritability, increased anxiety and depression, as well as behavioral challenges like poor motivation, sleep disturbance, and increased drinking or substance use. 

“People we care about could have been or will be infected, which is stressful and scary. Economic losses will also have a huge impact on our mental well-being,” says Raymond. “If individuals lost their jobs or small businesses or suffered other significant setbacks, it only stands to reason they will experience some mental health consequences related to this.”

OSF HealthCare continues to work diligently to ensure everyone the organization serves has access to behavioral health support to help navigate the unknown.

An Essential Tool
OSF SilverCloud is one easy way to help people manage their feelings through these challenges. The free online tool offers evidence-based interventions such as mindfulness exercises, interactive journaling, and mood and lifestyle charting. If needed, it also includes support from a behavioral health navigator who can monitor progress, provide encouragement and deliver guidance based on your personal situation. OSF SilverCloud has become an essential tool since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Enrollments on this platform increased significantly during the pandemic,” Raymond notes. “We hope people continue to take advantage of this free therapy option if they are feeling any anxiety, stress or depression.”

Along with programs to help people cope with anxiety, stress and depression, OSF SilverCloud also added a “Challenging Times” module. This segment focuses specifically on supporting those dealing with negative feelings and difficult situations brought on by the pandemic. For more information or to register for an account, visit osfhealthcare.org/silvercloud. PM

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