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University News

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19

Posted in: Health

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Red Hawks can find help coping with the mental health impacts of COVID-19 through Counseling and Psychological Services.


News reports about the coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become more widespread, are raising a number of concerns and making some people worry. To help take care of your mental health, we’ve put together tips to help you input information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.

(Visit the Counseling and Psychological Services webpage for the latest updates and information.)


  • Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:
  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day-to-day activities are disrupted by closings, attempt to create structure in your day by: scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family.
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such Montclair State’s University Health Center, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports and use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others, or contact CAPS or the Dean of Students Office. Your campus community is here to help!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another at all times as we address this challenge together. Be aware if your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the coronavirus. Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear-based.

Recognizing Distress

  • Increased worry, fear and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality

It’s not unusual to experience some – or even several – of the types of distress listed above during times of uncertainty and stress. If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual healthy coping strategies (e.g. moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation or some other mindfulness activity; taking time for yourself; engaging in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.).

If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help. Call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 973-655-5211 for assistance.

TAO Connect

TAO Connect is a terrific online resource that students and staff can log into remotely.

Here’s what you can expect from TAO Connect:

  • Guided therapy for stress, anxiety, depression, and other concerns.
  • No matter where you are, TAO provides help and support.
  • The TAO platform is completely private and secure.
  • The TAO Mobile app makes it easy to practice skills like changing thought patterns and learning to relax.

Get TAO Now!

  1. Visit our TAO Website.
  2. Click the “Sign Me Up” button.
  3. Use your email address.
  4. Choose a password you’ll remember.
  5. Agree to the Terms of Use.
  6. You will receive an email with more information!