8 Community Resources for Mental Health for COVID-19 Stress

Author Stacy Mosel, LMSW by Stacy Mosel, LMSW

If you are a frontline worker, have lost your job or have seen your life changed in other unimaginable ways due to the coronavirus pandemic, you should know that it’s normal to be overwhelmed, stressed and craving some semblance of normalcy. Although you might feel alone when you experience emotional pain, stress, sadness, a lack of social connection and unpredictable circumstances, know that we’re all in this together, and resources are available to help you cope with the stress in as healthy a way as possible. 

No matter how dire or bleak things might sometimes seem, remember that this will not last forever and that you can reach out for help when you feel like you can’t handle things on your own. SHEbd is committed to helping you live a healthy life, so we wanted to provide you with these community mental health resources to help you manage emotional pain and stress when you feel like it’s all just too much to bear. 

For Frontline Workers

1 – SAMHSA Disaster Mobile App

Designed for first responders, this free mobile app from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers “first responders immediate access for any type of traumatic event at every phase of response, including pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance and post-deployment resources.” You can access useful resources such as tip sheets, guides for responders, teachers, parents and caregivers and a listing of behavioral health service providers in your area. What’s really handy about the app is that you can also download information before you’re deployed in case there’s limited internet connectivity where you’re going. 

2 – Project Parachute

If you need a compassionate listener and want to talk about your feelings with a trained professional, you can access pro bono therapy for COVID-19 frontline workers through . This website was developed through a cooperative effort between Stephanie Zerwas, a psychologist in private practice at Flourish Chapel Hill and associate professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Psychiatry, and Eleos Health. By registering, you will be connected with a volunteer licensed therapist in your state who can help you navigate the difficult emotional waters related to working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. And you’re not locked in to the traditional one-hour therapy block — you receive flexible support when you need it, so that can mean a 30-minute check-in session or even texts when you don’t feel like talking.

3 – Mental Health Academy

We don’t always know how to respond in the face of a crisis, no matter how well trained we may be. Mental Health Academy has complied an online offering of free crisis resources, such as informative videos and articles, geared toward frontline mental health workers who are seeking professional advice and education on how to help their clients cope with coronavirus stress and anxiety, how to help children deal with the effects of the pandemic and how psychologists and other mental health professionals can take good care of themselves too. 

4 – Mind the Frontline

Although Mind the Frontline is based in Dublin, this organization has a wealth of free information to assist frontline health care workers around the world, including beneficial articles on topics that are relevant to your mental health needs. You can find ways to take care of yourself and cultivate self-compassion during the pandemic, exercises to help ease acute feelings of distress to help you from becoming overwhelmed and even advice on how to cope with death and grief should you lose a patient. 

For Anyone Experiencing Emotional Distress

1 – SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline

If you feel like you’re experiencing a crisis or are in emotional distress and need someone to talk to, you can call SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year for free. Whether you feel sad or stressed, it can be helpful to talk to a nonjudgmental, professional and caring counselor who can offer crisis counseling, information and education about distress and its effects on mental health and give you coping tips. This is a toll-free, multilingual and completely confidential service, so you don’t need to provide any identifying information if you don’t want to.

2 – Crisis Text Line

Sometimes, you might feel like you need to talk to someone, but you don’t actually feel like talking out loud. The Crisis Text Line was developed for this purpose — you can securely connect with a trained crisis counselor by texting “HOME” to 741741 from anywhere in the US and Canada, or, 85258 in the UK, or 086 1800 280 in Ireland. If you prefer, you can also message the Crisis Text Line on Facebook using this link.

3 – Shine’s Virus Anxiety Website and App

Shine and Mental Health America have joined forces to bring you a website full of beneficial resources for mental health, stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On the website, you can access informative articles, “ask an expert” archives where you can read through common questions about the coronavirus and anxiety, guided meditations for stress and even a fun toolkit designed to alleviate stress with a “random curation of delightful, soothing, and relaxing internet things.” 

While the website is free, you can also purchase the Shine App for $53.99 a year. It is designed to help reduce anxiety and improve your sleep during these uncertain times. You’ll have access to audio programs, meditations, bedtime meditations and stories as well as a digital community where you can get support from others in similar situations around the world and learn new self-care strategies every day. An internal study conducted by Shine in 2018 showed that regular use of the app decreased feelings of anxiety and stress.

If You’re Unemployed

1 — Benefits.gov

The number of people who are unemployed because of the coronavirus pandemic is staggering. If you’ve lost your job, you are likely feeling anxious, stressed and concerned about how to make ends meet. The Benefits.gov website has information and links to different unemployment resources, including how you can apply for unemployment benefits, how to apply for loans and other resources for your business and how you can access and apply for health care benefits, depending on your specific circumstances. 

Final Thoughts

When the world around you is unpredictable and undergoing radical shifts on a seemingly daily basis, it’s even more important to take time out for yourself to destress, unwind and practice self-care. SHEbd’s broad-spectrum hemp products for women are all-natural, advanced CBD products that can help you achieve wellness, with a range that includes CBD-infused balm to help ease achy joints and muscles and hemp sheet masks that can pamper and care for your skin. No matter what, remember to make yourself a priority, because only by caring for yourself can you provide the best care possible to others.

Stacy Mosel, L.M.S.W., is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist and substance abuse specialist. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she continued her studies at New York University, earning a master of social work degree in 2002. She has extensive training in child and family therapy and in the identification and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Currently, she is focusing on writing in the fields of mental health and addictions, drawing on her prior experiences as an employee assistance program counselor, individual and family therapist and assistant director of a child and family services agency.