Resources: COVID-19 and Mental Health

On top of being harmful to our bodies, processing and coping with the damage of disasters has proven to be harmful to our emotions and minds as well. COVID-19 has brought loss and grief to over 600 thousand families so far, in addition to the universal hardships of social isolation, breaks in routine and pandemic anxiety. Now, the existing distress being paired with wildfires continuing in the west and the start of hurricane season, many are struggling with additional emotions. 

Emotional and mental well-being has been one of the biggest non-COVID related challenges faced by Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study, more than half of people polled reported having a worsened emotional and/or mental health situation. Despite feeling that the emotional and mental health challenges faced will continue for years post-pandemic, the number of people that need help with emotional and mental health is greater than the number of people who have sought help (for example, more than half of people expect they’ll need help with emotional and mental health in the next two years). 

majority of people who have struggled with emotional and mental health during COVID-19 have turned to the federal government, family and friends, and state and local governments for help. An explanation for the disparity between the people who have struggled with emotional and/or mental health and those who have reached out for help could be the barriers that have faced us during the pandemic. Fear of getting sick with COVID-19 and anxiety over being judged by fellow community members have been two common barriers Americans have faced to seeking help.

If you or a loved one is struggling with emotional or mental health challenges, here are some tips and resources to help:

  • If there is an immediate danger to you or someone you know, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or use their web chat for crisis counseling and mental health referrals 24/7.
  • Text “HELLO” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for support and information from a crisis counselor 24/7.
  • Call or text the Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 for crisis counseling related to natural or human-made disasters 24/7.
  • Make an appointment with your primary care provider and ask them for help with your emotional and mental health.
  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4375) or visit their website to find treatment services in your area.
  • Visit the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website to find local affordable healthcare.
  • Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website to learn more about benefits of, eligibility for and how to enroll in mental health programs.
  • Visit the National Library of Medicine (NLM) MedlinePlus website for provider directories and a list of organizations related to your emotional/mental health condition. Organizations related to your condition have websites that can help you choose a care provider that is right for you.