During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing increased stress and anxiety. People with major mental illness and their family members have special challenges. Two national organizations have compiled much helpful information.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has prepared COVID-19 Information and Resources Guide (https://nami.org/covid-19-guide for English and https://nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/COVID-19-Information-and-Resources/Covid-19-Guia for Spanish). Topics covered include:
- coping with stress and anxiety
- loneliness and online support communities
- accessing medical care and medication
- helping a loved one who is incarcerated.
NAMI also has a helpline, (800) 950-6264, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., ET. In a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741 or call 800.SUICIDE (800.784.2433), 800.273.TALK (800.273.8255) or 888.628.9454 (for Spanish speakers).
For local information, contact your local NAMI affiliate (https://www.nami.org/findsupport).
Mental Health America has compiled a wealth of resources at https://mhanational.org/covid19. Topics covered include:
- information and wellness tips for individuals living with mental health conditions
- compassion fatigue and empathy burnout for healthcare workers
- financial support
- tools to connect with others
- contact info for crisis help and support
- resources for mental health providers, first responders, parents and caregivers.
In addition, individuals and families coping with major mental illness can benefit from advice to the general public, including:
- COVID-19 and your mental health (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/mental-health-covid-19/art-20482731)
- Maintaining your equilibrium during COVID-19 (https://serendipstudio.org/oneworld/mental-health/maintaining-your-equilibrium-during-covid-19).
Prepared by Ingrid Waldron, NAMI Main Line PA (https://namimainlinepa.org/)