How to protect your own mental health during quarantine, self-isolation

Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 15:53:53-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

Two dozen Butler County residents remained isolated in their homes Wednesday as they waited to learn whether they had contracted COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, from interactions with the eight confirmed coronavirus patients in their community.

All eight cases originated with members of a single family, according to Erin Smiley of the Butler County General Health District. By Wednesday, there was no documented evidence of community spread in West Chester.

However, Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton has repeatedly instructed Ohioans to expect more cases — everywhere — and take as many pre-emptive containment measures as possible. That means more quarantines, more self-isolation and more time without the familiar daily structures of office work or school.

Dr. Quinton Moss, a Butler County psychologist, offered a handful of tips for people to care for their own mental health at home:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
  • Structure your time, including setting aside time to relieve stress by playing games or working out.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family remotely using technology.

National mental health organizations also provided resources for people worried about theirs and their family members' mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH, Cincinnati's Health Department hotline: 513-357-7462
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 45 countries across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.