We strongly urge everyone to continue engaging in the preventative measures being recommended by local, state, national and international health organizations. These include:
- Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used instead.
- Not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
There are also a number of resources available that can help you engage in self-care and support your mental and emotional health during this challenging time.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a webpage that features tips about managing anxiety and stress. You can access the page by visiting http://bit.ly/33rnFjp.
- The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has a number of resources available for addressing the various emotions people may be experiencing in conjunction with COVID-19. You can learn more about those resources by visiting https://casel.org/covid-resources/.
- If you text HOME to 741741, a live counselor from the Crisis Text Hotline will connect with you in five minutes and stay on the line to help you figure out a safe plan of support. You can access additional information about this resource by visiting https://www.crisistextline.org/texting-in.
- NAMI hosts online communities where people exchange support and encouragement. You can learn more about these communities by visiting www.nami.org.
- 7 Cups (www.7cups.com) offers a free online service where people can text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. It also offers fee-based online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. The services/website are available in Spanish.
- Emotions Anonymous (www.emotionsanonymous.org) is an international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. Members of the organization have in-person and online weekly meetings in more than 30 countries around the world.
- Support Group Central (www.supportgroupscentral.com) offers free or low-cost virtual support groups that deal with numerous mental health conditions. The website is also available in Spanish.
- The Tribe Wellness Community (https://support.therapytribe.com/) offers free, online peer support groups that provide its members with a safe place to connect if they are facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics. Some of the topics addressed via these support groups include addiction, anxiety, depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, marriage/family, OCD and teens.
- SupportGroups.com (https://online.supportgroups.com/) is a website that features more than 200 online support groups.
- For Like Minds (www.forlikeminds.com) is an online mental health support network that connects individuals who are living with or supporting someone who is dealing with mental health conditions, substance use disorders and stressful life events.
- 18percent (www.18percent.org) offers a free, peer-to-peer online support community for those struggling with a wide range of mental health issues.
- Psych Central (www.psychcentral.com) offers online mental health resources, quizzes, news, an “Ask the Therapist” function and virtual support communities.
- The Headspace website (https://www.headspace.com/covid-19) and phone app have free guided meditations, as well as sleep and movement exercises.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has launched a text support line called Call4Calm. Individuals who want to speak with a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish speakers) to 552-020. These individuals will receive a call within 24 hours from a mental health professional who is employed by a local community health center. People can also text terms such as “unemployment,” “food” or “shelter” to the same number to receive information about how to access supports and services. Call4Calm is free, and the individuals who use it can remain anonymous.