Helping Give Away Psychological Science/Coping with Coronavirus and other Epidemics

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HGAPS New for Fall 2022: HGAPS and Psychology Conferences
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Here are examples from APA 2022 and the JCCAP Future Directions Forum. Coming soon... ABCT!
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) edit

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  Subject classification: this is a psychology resource.
Coronavirus Outbreak Timeline - first weeks of spread, 2019-2020

What is it? This page brings together information and resources for dealing with the recent coronavirus pandemic. The information can be re-used quickly in response to other situations.

What is it NOT? We have a second page that is more general, with information and resources for coping with infectious disease outbreaks in general, such as the flu. This page was curated by Helping Give Away Psychological Science, a non-profit focused on dissemination and connecting people to resources from which they could greatly benefit.

Please help improve the page. If you are comfortable editing, make the changes directly on the page or on the "Discuss" tab. You can also click here to make suggestions and drop links on a GoogleDoc that we will review and use to add more material.

Improving Your Mental Health and Well-Being edit

Dealing directly with stress can help improve your health, mindset, quality of life, and overall well being.

Tips to Improve Your Well-Being edit

Take care of yourself edit

The following tips can make you feel better and reduce your anxiety:

  • Exercise. Engage in at home-workouts or go for a 30-minute walk outside. Remember, you can still go outside, just take precaution and maintain a safe distance from others. Getting fresh air is important; it can help clear your mind and refresh you. Additionally, seeing others from your neighborhood can reduce your feelings of loneliness.
  • Eat healthy. Learn how to make new and healthy recipes with ingredients you already own; be creative and have fun with your creations.
  • Get enough sleep. Getting 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal; waking up well-rested and refreshed can set you up for a good day.
  • Pick up new hobbies. Reading books you are interested in, learning how to crochet, or baking treats can help occupy your time and allow your mind to relax and focus on these activities.
  • Journal. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a notebook can help you relieve your stress. Additionally, it may allow you to identify stress-inducing triggers as well as positive coping methods.
  • Help others. Check up on the people in your life and offer them reassurance and support. Volunteering and supporting others can increase your own resilience during stressful times.[1]
  • Video-chat with friends and family. Just because you may be advised to practice social distancing does not mean you have to socially isolate yourself. Texting or video-chatting with your friends and loved ones is a great way to stay connected, share moments together, laugh, and improve your mood. Maintaining personal relationships is extremely important.
  • Limit your media exposure to COVID-19. Constantly scrolling and reading material from unreliable sources can heighten your anxiety and put you in a state of panic. Setting limits on how much time you spend watching the news of reading new articles can decrease feelings of being overwhelmed. More time spent on social media and viewing more traditional media sources during the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with mental distress.[2] Remember to take breaks from media coverage to clear your mind and maintain your mental well-being.
  • Celebrate successes and take pride in completing tasks, even if it's as small as completing a household chore or organizing your closet.
Cultivate ways to be calm: edit
  • Understand that it is okay to feel anxious and worried during these trying times and realize that many others are likely experiencing these emotions as well.
  • Limit the amount of time you watch the news if you feel like it is making you particularly stressed.
  • Try to offset your stress with positive and calming activities such as meditation or yoga. Partake in something you enjoy.
Engage in activities to occupy your free time: edit
  • Tidy up your living space, organize your room or office, or de-clutter your closet
  • Read a book you've been eyeing
  • Draw, color, or write
  • Cook a new recipe or bake a delicious treat
  • Learn how to play a new instrument
  • Go for walks and hikes outdoors
  • Write gratitude letters to your friends and family

Signs Indicating You May Need Additional Help or Support edit

Panic attacks are discrete episodes, with an abrupt beginning – peaking at 10 minutes – and an end, usually within 30 minutes. If you have a persistent fever and cough, and trouble breathing, call your doctor or visit

How stressed should we feel? Q & A with Jon Abramowitz, PhD Assesment Center and Resources

Signs to be concerned:

  • Your mind is constantly flooded with thoughts of COVID-19 and it is hard to stray away from these negative thoughts.
  • You take extreme measures to isolate yourself from others.
  • You feel extremely hopeless about the situation and do not feel in control.
  • Your appetite has significantly increased or decreased.
  • Your sleep patterns have drastically fluctuated and you are having a hard time getting to sleep.
  • You are experiencing physical symptoms such as intense headaches or an a frequent upset stomach.
  • Your anxiety affects your daily life.
    • You are extremely scared to leave your house and go to a supermarket.
    • You are having trouble concentrating and getting your schoolwork done.
    • You are spending a great deal of time disinfecting parts of your living space multiple times a day.

Mindfulness edit


Mindfulness is a technique that can help reduce stress during difficult times. By grounding yourself in the present moment and focusing on your breathing and senses, your stress may dissipate and you may begin to feel at ease. Engaging in mindfulness practices can improve emotion regulation, well-being, and focus, as well as decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness Approach, Practices, Apps, and Videos
Practicing mindfulness involves directing awareness to what’s happening in the present. The events in your body (breath, heartbeat, pain sensations) and in your mind (thoughts, memories, ideas) can be noticed in the same way that we notice and pay attention to things outside of our bodies like sounds and sights. In being mindful of these events, all you need to do is notice them non-judgmentally. When the mind wanders into thinking about the past and planning for or worrying about the future (which it does all the time), notice what pulled your attention away and gently return to maintaining awareness of your breath or another grounding object of awareness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn identified 7 attitudes that are the pillars of mindfulness practice:

  • Non-judging
  • Patience
  • Beginner’s Mind
  • Trust
  • Non-striving
  • Acceptance
  • Letting Go
  • Gratitude
  • Generosity

You can read more about these here or in his book Full Catastrophe Living.

Mindful Practices You Can Do From Home[3]

Free Mindfulness/Meditation Apps and Videos edit

Exercise edit

Exercise routines are a great way to maintain a schedule and help reduce anxiety.

Books edit

  • Scrib is offering a 30-day free trial (no credit card information required)
  • Project Gutenberg has over 60,000 free e-books
  • LibriVox free audio books
  • Libby provides free audiobooks after registering with a public library card

Streaming and Sports Entertainment edit

  • Netflix Party is a way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Videos are synchronized, allowing you and your buddies to watch the same things at the same time. Netflix Party is free, but only available on Chrome computer browsers.
  • Hulu offers a 30-day free trial
  • Tubi TV offers free movies and TV shows
  • IMDb TV offers free movies and TV shows

Music/Arts edit

Tech edit

  • Free conference calls with Skype (no sign-up or download required)

Information For High School and College Students edit

COVID-19 can be incredibly difficult for high school and college students, as the loss of routine, time with friends, and being in the home for extended periods of time is tough. Click the dropdown menu to learn more.

Info for High School and College Students

How to Study and Navigate School From Home edit

  • Create a daily routine. Outlining a schedule to follow everyday can increase productivity and motivation. For example: outline times to wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, attend class online, eat lunch, do homework and study, eat dinner, relax, and go to bed.
  • Set aside certain hours for work. Dedicating specific times of the day to work and study can help you maintain a routine and good flow of things, which can allow you to get more work done without being distracted.
  • Dedicate a certain space for the sole purpose of doing work. Whether it's a desk or room, find a place where you can sit down and get your work done. Try to only keep these spaces as work areas. If you need a break or are itching to go on your phone, go to a separate place. Over time, your mind will make the association between the designated work space and the rest of the house such that whenever you sit down to work at that area, you will be efficient and get things done and be less tempted to mind-wander.
  • Take breaks. Staring at a computer screen or doing coursework for multiple hours of the day can be exhausting and strain your eyes. Remember that it is highly important to take breaks throughout the day. Take time to snack, brew up coffee, walk, stretch, or call your friends. Once you are feeling more energized and motivated, continue with your work. In between classes or online meetings, try to walk for a few minutes outside to replicate the physical activity you would normally get from class transitions.
  • Communicate with those who are living with you. If you know you will need to have a quiet space for certain hours of the day (e.g. you have an online class or you need to study for an upcoming test), politely inform whoever is living in your home. You can text them, talk to them, or leave a note on your door indicating the times where you'll need them to be quiet.
  • Find a friend to study with. Keeping in contact with friends and doing work together can be beneficial and help motivate you. If you and your friend are in the same class, talk to them and set up a few hours where you both are free to study or do homework at the same time. Another tip is to text your friend a list of things you need to do for the day. Doing this can hold you accountable and make you extra motivated to complete your work. Additionally, you and your friend can text each other throughout the day to check up on one another and see how much you each have gotten done. Knowing that others are also working can help you maintain your focus.
  • Online and Remote Learning Tips for Student with ADHD Check out this website for tips and advice for navigating online learning and how to perform optimally.[4] Here are some more:

Education edit

  • 450 Ivy League courses you can take for free.
  • Spring testing dates for standardized graduate school application tests have been cancelled. GRE is now allowing at home test taking until September 30th. Check the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT websites for updates.
  • APA is offering:

Information For Parents edit

Includes information on how to help and support your child as well as a resources on a ton of activities and educational content.

Info For Parents

Signs Your Child May Be Highly Stressed edit

  • A drastic change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Avoidance of wanting to go to school/wanting to do schoolwork
  • Avoidance of activities they used to enjoy
  • Constant headaches or somatic complaints
  • Difficulty maintaining attention or concentration
  • Excessive crying or irritability in young children
  • Acting out behaviors and defiance in teens
  • New or increased use of drugs or alcohol in teens
  • Excessive worrying or signs of sadness

How to Help and Support Your Child edit

  • Sit and talk to your child about COVID-19. Explain to them what it is in ways they can understand and discuss the impacts it has had on your family and lifestyle. Additionally, listen to your child and any concerns they may have. Much of the anxiety about our present situation with COVID-19 comes from uncertainty and misconceptions about the virus. Children and adolescents are being bombarded by frightening images in the media and misinformation from peers and the internet about the lethality of this disease. For example, many young people mistakenly believe that the unprecedented measures being taken mean that if they contract the virus they will die. Instead, it could be helpful to explain to your child that the primary purpose of social distancing is to protect vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and/or those with underlying medical conditions. See this comic that explains coronavirus and how to handle these strange, uncertain times in kid-friendly terms. You may also find it helpful to read this article from PBS about how to talk to kids about coronavirus. Share accurate health information about COVID-19. As noted above, it is important to consult reliable sources of information when informing loved ones of the situation and any developments over time. It might be helpful to identify a small number of trusted sources to obtain the most current health information, such as the CDC, the WHO, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, and this helpful parents’ guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. In addition, consider limiting the amount of time that you and your family are spending consuming news and social media each day. It is far better for your household’s anxiety and overall well-being to “unplug” and devote the majority of time engaging in valued activities and self-care. Information adapted from this source.
  • Focus on prevention. Teach your child important preventative measures such as frequent hand-washing and maintaining distance from others.
  • Provide a sense of safety and comfort. Educate your child about what is going on, but reassure them that everything will be okay and that you'll get through it together. Let them know it is okay for them to come to you if they are feeling sad, worried, or anxious.
  • Give your child tips on how to deal with stress. Share your own coping methods or adapt them to the things they may be experiencing.
  • Limit your child's exposure to media coverage. Excessive exposure to COVID-19 news through the radio, television stations, and social media can scare children. They may not fully understand what is going on and they may misinterpret information they hear and become frightened. Provide them with accurate information and make sure they understand the real facts.
  • Create and maintain routines. Schedule set wake-up times, meal times, learning times (if school is closed), leisure/relaxing times, and bedtimes to follow daily. Sticking to a routine can ease, ground, and comfort your child. For younger kids, consider implementing a reward system to motivate them to stick to these routines.
  • Reward maintained routines Consider implementing a reward system for younger kids to help them stick with their new routine(s) and praise them whenever possible when they are doing the right thing. Information adapted from this source.
  • Maintain house rules During times of stress, parents sometimes relax typical expectations for their kids’ behavior and skip following through on natural consequences or rewards. Continue to enforce limits as much as possible. This will help kids feel a sense of normalcy. At the same time, recognize that stress and worry sometimes results in unusual behavior and acting out. Children often express anxiety in different ways (e.g., body aches, irritability), so it is important to notice these changes and talk to your kids about the feelings underlying their behavior. Information adapted from this source.
  • Be a role model. Making sure you eat healthy, get a proper amount of sleep, and find a balance between work and family time can set a good example for your child to follow.
  • Set up times for your child to call or video chat with family members or friends. This can connect them to others and make them feel less alone. Friends can be a good outlet for kids and adolescents to express their true feelings and receive support.
  • Parenting strategies for parents of teens
  • How to talk to your teen about social distancing
  • A guide for parents on how to cope with COVID-19
  • The independent national nonprofit organization, Child Mind Institute, is dedicated to transforming mental health care for children and families everywhere while empowering parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most. Besides their articles, which are a great resource for guidelines and resources on understanding children struggling with mental and learning disorders, Child Mind Institute's channel on YouTube has a playlist of videos from professionals like clinical psychologists and social workers on parenting during coronavirus, advice for managing stress, sleep, schedules, and home during the pandemic and more.
    • You can find the Child Mind Institutes' corona virus videos here.

Activities and Educational Content For Kids edit

Information for Mental Health Professionals edit

This is a compilation of resources to help mental health professionals adapt their work methods, learn more about issues related to coronavirus, and resource to provide additional support to clients.

Info for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health. UN Policy Brief, 13 May 2020. 17 pages including an Executive Summary. “Although the COVID-19 crisis is, in the first instance, a physical health crisis, it has the seeds of a major mental health crisis as well, if action is not taken. Good mental health is critical to the functioning of society at the best of times. It must be front and centre of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently.” (opening paragraph in the Executive Summary)

Video message/text by Antonio Guterres on the launch of the UN Brief on COVID-19 and Mental Health, 13 May 2020 (2 minutes 45 seconds). This video message is followed by a we recover from the pandemic, we must shift more mental health services to the community, and make sure mental health is included in universal health coverage. video message by the UN with various comments by Civil Society in support of the UN’s COVID-19 action for mental health (two minutes and 40 seconds). See also the UN’s feature story in its global/health sections (13 May 2020): “UN leads call to protect most vulnerable from mental health crisis during and after COVID.”

Information for Communities edit

Coronavirus Response Tool Box includes resources drawn from authoritative sources (such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), tools for taking action from the Community Tool Box, and examples of communities taking action.

Information for Specific Groups and Professions edit

Women - Global Perspective edit

The social disruption with illness, lockdown, and social distancing affect everyone, but they also often have additional impact on women globally.

The World Health Organization created these infographics to share of of the ways women are often affected.

High-Risk Groups edit

Older people and people with underlying medical problems, immune-deficit/immune disorders are more likely to develop serious illness from COVID-19.

Tips for People Who are Considered to be High-Risk

Info About High Risk Groups
1. Older Adults edit
  • According to the CDC, older individuals are twice as likely to develop a serious illness from the Coronavirus.
  • These individuals are advised to stay home as much as possible.
  • People over 60 years old should avoid traveling by plane, attending religious services, or going other places where there are a lot of people.
  • Things family members and caregivers can do to support older adults:
    • Make sure there is extra medication on hand
    • Stock up on non-perishable foods in the house
    • Frequently check in on the health of the older individual
2. People Who Have Underlying Health Conditions edit
  • Includes those who have: a heart disease, cardiovascular problems, a lung disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
  • These individuals should stay home as much as possible.
  • These people should avoid being in places where there are crowds.|}

What is COVID-19? edit

What is a coronavirus, and what is COVID-19? edit

  • Coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that may cause illness in humans and animals. Coronavirus can lead to respiratory infections such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
  • COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?[6] edit

  • The main symptoms are fever, tiredness, dry cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Some may experience aches and pains all over, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea that are usually mild and starts gradually while others experience extreme levels of these symptoms.
  • Some people are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 meaning they are infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell but appear healthy.
  • About 80% of people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Approximately 1 out of 6 people who are infected with COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop breathing difficulties.

How is COVID-19 spread? edit

  • The main way COVID-19 spreads is through direct contact with someone who has the virus. Droplets from someone who has coronavirus (through coughing or sneezing) can enter your system and infect you. The best way to prevent yourself from getting the virus is to avoid coming into contact with those who have it.
  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation produced these projections of infection rates and health care system burden from COVID-19 based on several scenarios of preventative action.

Is there a cure or vaccine to prevent COVID-19? edit

  • As of March 2021, COVID-19 vaccines have been developed by several pharmaceutical companies and are being distributed to the general population, starting with at-risk individuals and essential workers.
  • For American residents, consult your state Department of Public Health to receive updated information on who can get vaccinated and how to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Wall Street Journal maintains a list of state-by-state information on COVID-19 vaccination guidelines.
    • As of April 2021, all Americans above the age of 16 are eligible to receive a vaccine against COVID-19

Can the virus live on surfaces? edit

  • Research suggests that the virus could potentially be found on surfaces but the risk of contracting the virus via touch is low
    • It is still recommended to wash your hands and sanitize surfaces as a general precaution

Are children at an increased risk for getting the virus? edit


Travel edit

Preventative Measures to Take edit

  • Social distancing (but make sure to find ways to stay socially connected)
  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used to kill viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue and immediately throw it in the trash. Additionally, wash your hands right after.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces and objects throughout your house.
  • If you show symptoms of COVID-19, wear a face mask to prevent possible spreading of the disease.
  • If you have a fever, are coughing, or have difficulty breathing, call your doctor and seek medical help.
  • More Protective Measures

Current Cases/Live Maps edit

Resources edit

Essential Websites edit

Additional Mental Health Resources edit

Citations edit

  1. Brown, S. L., & Okun, M. A. (2014). Using the caregiver system model to explain the resilience-related benefits older adults derive from volunteering. In M. Kent, M. C. Davis, & J. W. Reich (Eds.), The resilience handbook: Approaches to stress and trauma. (pp. 169–182). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  2. Riehm, Kira E.; Holingue, Calliope; Kalb, Luther G.; Bennett, Daniel; Kapteyn, Arie; Jiang, Qin; Veldhuis, Cindy B.; Johnson, Renee M. et al. (2020-11-XX). "Associations Between Media Exposure and Mental Distress Among U.S. Adults at the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic". American Journal of Preventive Medicine 59 (5): 630–638. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2020.06.008. PMID 33011008. PMC PMC7351429. 
  3. "Relaxation Techniques for Health". NCCIH. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  4. "ADHD and LD Support". Learning Center. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  5. Board, ADHD Editorial. "Working From Home with ADHD: Telecommuting in Trying Times". Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  6. "Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)". Retrieved 2020-04-14.