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Coping & support

Feeling stress and depression?

"It’s common for people who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, patients on dialysis, and those who have received kidney transplants to feel sad and depressed. In fact, studies show that 20% to 40% of people with kidney failure may also have depression. While the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 remains low in the general population, people who have a chronic illness or who are taking immunosuppressant drugs are at an increased risk of becoming very ill. These fears are real – and the worry and stress can lead to an even greater bout of depression. If you are feeling more depressed than usual, The Centers for Disease Control has some great tips for helping you to manage your stress and anxiety.

Coping strategies

If you are feeling more depressed than usual, The Centers for Disease Control has some great tips for helping you to manage your stress and anxiety.

It is true -- the coming days are going to be unlike any we’ve ever had to face before – however, there are ways to help manage stress and depression and to help you cope when you feel sad and overwhelmed.

For more information

Connecting with support resources

There are numerous online support communities and emotional support hotlines to help you if you are quarantined or remaining isolated at home. The National Alliance on Mental Health hosts online communities where people exchange support and encouragement.

NAMI also recommends the following online support resources:

  • 7 Cups: Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. Also offers fee- for-service online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in Spanish.
  • Emotions Anonymous: An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be a complement to therapy.
  • Support Group Central: Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions - free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.
  • SupportGroups.com: Website featuring 200+ online support groups.
  • 18percent: Offers a free, peer-to-peer online support community for those struggling with a wide range of mental health issues.
  • Psych Central:Offers online mental health resources, quizzes, news, an “Ask the Therapist” function, and online support communities.

NKF Peers: Connects patients who want support with someone who has been there. Speak with a trained peer mentor who can share their experiences about dialysis, transplant, or living kidney donation with you. They will also answer your questions and listen to your concerns to help you cope with issues related to COVID-19.

NKF Cares: Offers support for people affected by kidney disease, organ donation or transplantation. It's designed for patients, family members and care partners. They will also answer your questions and listen to your concerns to help you cope with issues related to COVID-19.

Online Communities: Find support from others who are self-isolating – in particular, older adults and those at high risk who require shielding from the COVID-19 virus. This community is there to protect people from the consequences of isolation.

COVID-19-related depression

While the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 remains low in the general population, people who have a chronic illness or who are taking immunosuppressant drugs are at an increased risk of becoming very ill. These fears are real – and the worry and stress can lead to an even greater bout of depression.

How to cope with loneliness

" A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. "

World Health Organization, March 2020

If you are like most people in America, you are now practicing social distancing to keep you and your loved ones and other people in your community safe from contracting COVID-19. However, it’s important to remember that social distancing is not the same thing as social isolation. At the same time, feeling lonely and anxious when you need to remain isolated is a very normal reaction.

World Health Organization Recommendations

According to the World Health Organization, if you are under quarantine staying or staying home as instructed by government officials, you should try to keep up your personal daily routines. WHO recommends that you pay attention to your own needs and feelings and engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing, to exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines, and eat healthy foods.

It is recommended that people seek out COVID-19 updates and practical guidance from health professionals and the WHO website.

Staying occupied

While staying home, there are many things you can do keep active and mentally stimulated. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Stay in touch with friends and family through technology – video conference, play online games, or post cute animal photos on Facebook and Instagram
  • Haven’t been to Broadway in a while? Stream shows for free at insider.com
  • Upcoming new movies are either already available (or will be soon) on demand instead of opening in theaters – they will be released for purchase. Learn more by contacting your cable provider, streaming services, and at ET Live
  • Tackle a DIY project, trying a new recipe, or spring-cleaning
  • Become an armchair scholar, traveler, private detective – or anything else!
  • Spend quality time with your pet

Whatever you choose to do, know that you are contributing to the health and well-being of yourself, and everyone else in our country and world.

Why is everyone so worried about COVID-19?

We used to think of a pandemic as a fictitious story plot for a book or movie; scary but really nothing to worry about. Those days are gone now that COVID-19 has made pandemic a “truth”, a reality happening in real time, and everyone is worried.

The reasons everyone is so worried about COVID-19 are that unlike seasonal flu:

  • It is a new virus
  • There are still things we don’t know about it
  • There are no medicines or vaccines for it yet
  • It is highly contagious and spreading fast

     

Naturally we worry because the future course of COVID-19 and how it may affect us individually is unclear. However, according to experts, worrying about what hasn’t happened yet is not good use of our time and energy. It’s better to focus on the things we can control by following the recommendations for preventing COVID-19 available from

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