FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansans have been dealing with COVID-19 for nearly two years and its taking a toll on people’s mental health.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health said she understands everyone is tired with the pandemic, but said safety reminders will help us get closer to the end of it.

“We have to continue to encourage people and offer hope and the best information we have about what is most likely to work if people will do them,” Dillaha said.

Dr. Shelly Farnan, a psychologist with Burrell Behavioral Health, said people have been living in survival mode for the past couple of years which can put a severe strain on our mental health.

“Survival states are meant to work in very short, in very fast acting ways to keep us alive and safe, and now it’s like year three of this so we’re fatigued and exhausted,” Farnan said.

Farnan encourages people to check in with yourself and those you love on a regular basis. She recommends using the rating method to understand how you feel on a certain day.

“We give ourselves a rating of zero to five, zero is calm and at peace and five is I’m going to crisis,” Farnan said.

Once you give yourself a rating, Farnan said to tell a trusted family member or friend and seek professional help if you need it. Also, she said its important to find what helps you express your feelings.

“Practice breathing, healing, mindful meditation, belly breathing, whatever language you put to that, and then you have to find those strategies that help you to arrive at your best self,” Farnan said.

If you are in immediate mental health crisis, you can call Burrell’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-888-518-0108.