Over the past few days, COVID-19 has dominated the news cycle. The World Health Organization has labeled the coronavirus a pandemic. We wanted to provide some helpful tips for you, your church, ministry, and practice.
Share the Facts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created helpful resources on COVID-19. We encourage you to stay tuned to your local, state, and national public health agencies, as well as contacting your family physician if necessary.
Counter Stigma. It is helpful for mental health professionals to assist in fighting the stigma of COVID-19. The CDC offers talking points for leaders to effectively communicate on COVID-19, which include:
- Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of those seeking healthcare and who may be part of any contact investigation.
- Raise awareness about COVID-19 without increasing fear. Share accurate information about how the virus spreads.
- Speak out against negative behaviors, including harmful statements on social media about groups of people, or exclusion of people who pose no risk from regular activities.
- Thank healthcare workers and responders. People who have traveled to areas where there are COVID-19 outbreaks are performing a valuable service by helping make sure this disease does not spread further.
- Share the need for social support for people who have returned from China or are worried about friends or relatives in an affected region.
Know the Signs. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, show signs of symptoms, have been in close contact with a known case of COVID-19, or live in or have recently traveled from an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Take Precautions. Follow the CDC guidelines on Steps To Prevent Illness, which include: Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately dispose of it in the trash. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home if you are sick and seek medical care.
Pray. We hold fast to this truth found in 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV), “… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Although this is a chaotic time—which can increase anxiety, fear, and more—we must remain anchored in our hope found in Christ.
For more information and precautions on COVID-19, please visit the CDC Web site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
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About the AACC
The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is the world’s largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. The AACC’s mission is to equip the entire community of care, including licensed professionals, pastors, and lay caregivers, with biblical truth and psychosocial insights so they can minister to hurting people and help them move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence, and mental stability. The AACC accomplishes this mission through its widely attended events, educational programs, and materials available via Light University and publications.