Mental Health Month on MSN: Tell us how you’re doing
The COVID-19 crisis has made the issue of mental health more important that ever. Social isolation, stress and anxiety are affecting many people, both with and without previously existing mental health conditions. Taking care of our mental well-being is just as crucial as our physical health during this time.
May is Mental Health Month, and Microsoft News for Good has teamed up with Action Button to offer help. Take our anonymous poll below to tell us how you’re doing. We’ll give you ideas for how take care of yourself if needed, and offer you opportunities to help others who can benefit from your advice and skills (and that’s good for your mental health, too!).
Illinois Remote Patient Monitoring Program & Montgomery County Support Lines
Illinois has set up a Remote Patient Monitoring Program for mental health services. This telehealth and mental health support line is for underserved communities and those at risk during the COVID 19 pandemic. To access this program, text TALK to 552020. Please do not wait to get the mental health treatment you deserve.
Also remember that Montgomery County Mental Health is open and has available counselors for you. You can call them Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at 217-532-2001 (Hillsboro) and 217-324-3430 (Litchfield).
There is also a 24 hour Mental Health Crisis Hotline which can be reached at 888-324-5052 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and after hours or weekends at 217-313-4730.
Let your community support you!
Coping With the Stress of COVID-19
If you’re feeling stressed or nervous during these days of COVID-19, you’re not alone, shared the support team of Eden’s Glory, a restoration home in southern Illinois “where survivors of human trafficking are restored to thrive for the praise and glory of God.”
Eden’s Glory’s message to all of us, no matter our vulnerability, continues: Uncertainty and the sense of not being safe — not to mention physical distancing, round-the-clock news and empty grocery shelves — are stressful. What you’re feeling is common around the world.
We know you’re looking for ways to take care of yourself and #BeTheDifference. Eden’s Glory compiled these tips from the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to help you care for your own and your loved ones’ mental health.
If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.
You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.
Find options for online meetings for addiction recovery at 12Step.org
Reaching out to warm lines provides peer support on a local level. Contact the Illinois Warmline by Illinois Mental Health Collaborative at (866) 359-7953. Hours: Monday - Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Central). Available to Illinois Callers only — Does not take calls from out of state callers.
Lists of COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase, so does the associated anxiety. For the general public, the mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as are the physical health effects. And for the one in five who already have mental health conditions — or the one in two who are at risk of developing them — we need to take personal, professional, and policy measures now to address them.
To aid individuals and communities during this time, Mental Health America (MHA), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and ministry-based Presbyterian Mission have compiled a range of resources and information.
VIDEO: Isolation Forced By Coronavirus Endangers Mental Health Of Elderly
While health officials are ordering people to keep their distance from the elderly in an attempt to protect a high-risk population from the coronavirus, some are warning that too much isolation could be just as deadly. UCSF Sociology Professor Dr. Stacy Torres said elderly people — especially those in their 80s — can be mentally harmed if deprived of basic social interaction. She worries that isolating them to protect their lives could make them stop caring about living at all. SAT founder and director Kate Wiley suggested an “Adopt a Senior” program where people can call an elderly client each day to help keep their spirits up as the outbreak continues.
VIDEO: Coronavirus Outbreak Sparks Mental Health Concerns
The coronavirus pandemic is impacting many Americans’ mental health, adding to anxiety, isolation and feelings of losing control. NBC’s Anne Thompson talks to an expert who suggests movement and meaningful engagement with others as ways to cope.
Maslow’s Approach to Quarantine, Probably
Illustration by @haleydrewthis on Instagram. Haley shares so many inspiring, hopeful, and self-care messages! If you feel alone, find a new perspective, or ask a different question.
“You’re Not Alone”: How to Find Mental Health Resources During a Global Pandemic
March 25, 2020, Today
Every day the news sounds overwhelming. More people are contracting COVID-19 and many are dying. People are losing their jobs. There’s no toilet paper. This can reduce the toughest person to tears. And for people living with a mental health condition, this time brings greater uncertainty.
And staying at home might worsen symptoms of loneliness or depression. You may be wondering: What is teletherapy? What does one do in a crisis now? What happens if people can’t see their friends and family? These feelings should be expected and experts want people to reach out for help when needed.
There have been a number of rapid changes that allow both therapists and psychiatrists to provide care to patients from a distance. That change? Teletherapy or telemedicine, where a provider consults with a patient via a video chat service.
“Medicare, for the first time, announced people could do teletherapy, telemedicine from home. That’s pretty new. It never happened before,” Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), told TODAY. “You’re not getting second-rate care. Teletherapy is the same effectiveness as in-person.”
Teletherapy has an added benefit: greater patient compliance. “We think that it allows people to consistently stay in care,” Leah Blain, the clinical director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told TODAY. “That’s one of the best predictors of treatment outcomes for mental health concerns, sticking with it.”
For people who do not have video capabilities, therapists and psychiatrists can conduct sessions over the phone. While it might feel weird at first, everyone is adjusting to the new normal.
Finding crisis mental health care can feel especially challenging right now. Often people experiencing mental health crisis can visit the emergency room and might feel wary of going now.
People should still visit emergency rooms during an emergency. Blain encourages people to go to mental health hospitals, if possible, or reach out to mobile crisis centers. But the experts agree that calling support lines are a great option.
“If the idea is that you’re not able to leave your home, the national crisis text line is the best resource,” Duckworth said.
There are a variety of hotlines people can reach out to, including:
- Texting HELLO to 741741 for 24/7 support from Crisis Text line.
- Calling the NAMI helpline at 800-950-6264, which is staffed by volunteers who have mental health conditions.
- Reaching out to warm lines, which also provide peer support on a local level. Illinois Warmline by Illinois Mental Health Collaborative at (866) 359-7953 | Hours: Monday - Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Central) | (Available to Illinois Callers only - Does not take calls from out of state callers).
- Calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Using the Disaster Distress helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs at 66745.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ General Service Office recommends that AA clients attend digital meetings. People can find their closest group here.
People can join digital group salons — group therapy led by a trained mental health professional — one-on-one talk therapy and events.
“This is the perfect opportunity to prioritize mental health,” Julius Boatwright told Today. Boatwright is the CEO and founder of Steel Smiling — a Pittsburgh-based organization that connects people of color to mental health resources through advocacy, awareness and education. “Everyone can now coalesce around this issue. It is a call to action to every person who has power or influence that they have to be talking about mental health right now.”
Mental Health Providers Turn To Telemedicine During COVID-19 Crisis, But Will Insurance Cover It?
March 24, 2020, Chicago CBS
Doctor’s visits are still allowed while Illinois is under a shelter in place order. Continued treatment is especially important for people needing help with addiction or psychological issues, but what if offices are closed?
The hope is insurance companies and human resources departments take note and offer temporary relief until the pandemic peters out.
In the linked article below, CBS 2 Chicago Morning Insider Lauren Victory looks at the impact of COVID-19 on mental health services.
Plus, the Morning Insiders compiled a list of helpful mental health resources:
- an informative guide from NAMI
- online meetings for addiction recovery
- free meditations, bed time stories, stretches and calming music
- and a digital health community with 2 million subscribers.
The Grace Alliance offers Free Webinars and Workbook
Staying Connected & Supported
Are you feel anxious or stressed during this pandemic? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are in this with you. �
Did you miss out on our live webinars? No problem! We have them up on the site for you!
In these three webinars we go over:
- Creative Structure & Routine In Social Distancing with extended time at home.
- Refreshing & Renewing Our Minds
- Managing Life Stressors & more!
In addition to the replays, we also have a FREE Mini-Thrive workbook for you to download at home today!
We hope these are helpful, and remember you are not alone — we are all in this together! #thegracealliance #covidkindness
“Stress and Coping”, from the CDC
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include... people who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.