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Back to School 2020: Coping During COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a huge toll on not just the physical health but the mental health of the nation. As we enter a new, very uncertain academic school year – it’s important for parents, caregivers, and school personnel to know the signs that a young person is struggling with his or her mental health.

Loneliness and isolation can negatively impact a child’s mental health

We know that stress and anxiety can be common during the school year for students, but with the pandemic upon us, it’s even more important to pay attention. For those who are physically going back to schools, the anxiety and fear are palpable – and simply navigating the uncertainly can feel overwhelming. And for those who are learning virtually, too much isolation can be harmful.

Research shows that chronic loneliness, which many of us are feeling these days with stay-at-home orders – can translate to poor sleep, high blood pressure, greater risk of suicidal ideation, and even alcohol and drug use. Depression and anxiety have also increased in the months since the pandemic began.

Half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, and about 75 percent begin by the age of 24. But it’s also important to know that mental health issues are common and treatable – you don’t have to suffer in silence!

 

Take a mental health screening B4Stage4

Know the signs and symptoms of mental health issues so that you can seek help for you or someone you care about. Free, confidential, and anonymous screening tools are available at mentalhealthmn.org/work/screening/ to check in on symptoms and to find resources to help.

Just like physical health, taking care of mental health struggles early can help to prevent more serious problems from developing in the future. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health problem, it is important to act before Stage 4. Start the conversation. Seek help from a trusted adult. Remember there is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is help and hope available.

 

 

 

Mental health crisis services and other support resources are available

There are also serious signs that someone is in crisis and needs more immediate help. These include thoughts or plans of hurting oneself or another person. If you think a child or teen is in immediate danger of taking suicidal action, call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Their trained crisis counselors can help you find local resources or suggest next steps. You can also lookup information for your local mobile crisis response team.

We’re also providing free professional mental health support through our COVID Cares service by calling toll-free 833-HERE4MN. We are here to help anyone who is feeling elevated levels of stress, anxiety or depression during these unprecedented times.

In addition, to continually support people during the pandemic, we’ve temporarily extended our hours of our Warmline service from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday – Saturday. Our normal hours were 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Our Warmline is staffed by certified peer specialists who know what living with a mental health condition is like.

 

 

Back to School 2020 Toolkit

Parents, students, and families

Teachers

Everyone

833-HERE4MN Offers Free Mental Health Support

Mental Health Minnesota is excited to announce that there is now a toll-free phone number for people seeking support from COVID Cares, a free, anonymous, confidential phone line for anyone struggling with stress, anxiety and worry during this difficult time. It will now be easier than ever for people to get support by dialing toll-free at 833-HERE4MN.

“So many people are facing unprecedented stress and worry right now, whether you’re a healthcare worker or a hospital janitor, a teacher contemplating a return to the classroom or a parent struggling to balance work and children, a grocery store employee stocking shelves or a farmer struggling to make ends meet,” said Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota’s executive director.

COVID Cares is a service offered in collaboration by Mental Health Minnesota, the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, the Minnesota Psychological Association, and the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists. The line is staffed by volunteer mental health professionals, and is open from 9AM to 9PM, seven days a week.

“We know that so many people are dealing with significant stress, but at the same time, we also know that many are not ready or willing to seek help or even talk to friends or family about it,” said Mulvihill. “This service provides an easy and anonymous way for people to reach out and talk about how they’re feeling in a safe, environment.”

To reach the service, call our toll-free number at 833-HERE4MN (833-437-3466).

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month

 

We are honored to celebrate the first-ever BIPOC Mental Health Month in July! This month was previously known as Minority Mental Health Month. Why the change?

Our affiliate, Mental Health America (MHA), named July Minority Mental Health Month in posthumous honor of Bebe Moore Campbell, a best-selling author, journalist and mental health advocate in 2008. MHA honored Campbell each year following this date by creating a toolkit to address the mental health needs of underserved and underrepresented populations in an effort to elevate voices and improve understanding of the challenges these individuals face.

Yet in the weeks following George Floyd’s death, it’s evident that our country is still experiencing the longstanding effects of racism and bigotry, which often went unchecked and unmentioned in systems of care and other services. Systemic racism and bigotry inflict significant, long-term trauma on individuals, which can have terrible mental health consequences. Therefore, it was a time to re-examine the messaging of this Minority Mental Health month, ensuring it aligned with the experiences underrepresented communities are facing daily.

In the mental health field, we use “person-first” language to help individuals identify as human beings first, versus being identified for their mental health status. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) emerged as a person-first acronym that emphasizes the individual, versus “minority, which removes personhood by talking about quantity versus quality. The word “minority” also represents a difference in power between “majority” and “minority” groups, insinuating inferiority.

It became clear that the word “minority” no longer represented the message of the mental health community and instead perpetuated negative images and stereotypes. The term BIPOC, we feel, more fairly honors the unique experiences and existence of “BI” Black and Indigenous individuals and “POC” people of color. Thus, moving forwarding MHA and its affiliates will no longer use the word “minority” in our materials.

MHA developed information and resources specifically for Black, Indigenous People of Color BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ communities. We’ve included some of these resources as downloads on this page. They include handouts on racism and mental health and racial trauma; an infographic built from MHA screening data on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health.

We also ask people to share how discrimination and/or racism have affected their mental health, using the hashtag #ImpactofTrauma.

BIPOC Resources

With COVID Cares Phone Line, Minnesota Mental Health Professionals Offer Support in Time of Crisis

“We wanted this to be a safe and anonymous way to approach mental health care for a first-time user.” Our executive director, Shannah Mulvihill, discusses with MinnPost how our COVID Cares phone line can be a source of support in times of stress for everyone during the pandemic. Read the article

COVID Cares is a partnership between the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, the Minnesota Psychological Association, the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists, and Mental Health Minnesota.

Minnesota Educators’ Panel on Children’s Mental Health

Minnesota educators, Gwen Ruoff, Dante Pirtle, and Danielle D. Smith participated in our Zoom panel discussion on children’s mental health on May 27, 2020.

Listen to the full discussion to discover their perspectives on teaching during COVID-19, how they stay mentally healthy, and how families can be supportive of each other, along with more strategies and tips: https://youtu.be/7p8lny85WTU.

Mental Health Minnesota Kicks Off Support Group for Certified Peer Specialists

 

Certified Peer Specialists play an incredibly important role in the mental health and recovery of people across Minnesota through their work at community mental health centers, Warmlines, ACT teams, and other mental health settings.

But serving as a Certified Peer Specialist isn’t easy. They are sharing their stories and experiences to help others in their recovery journey, and their roles are unique in mental health services.

Mental Health Minnesota believes in the value of peer services, and we know that it’s important for those providing peer services to have support. That’s why we’re offering an online support group for employed Certified Peer Specialists to share both the joys and the challenges of their work. The group is designed for and led by Certified Peer Specialists.

The “Peers Supporting Peers” online support group meetings will be held on Wednesdays at noon via Zoom. To register to attend group meetings, please click on our “Events” page to complete the online registration form.

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month, and it has never been more important than this year. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. health. Just weeks ago, we had no idea that all our worlds were going to be turned upside down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) or that the associated worry, isolation, loneliness, and anxiety would be something that literally everyone – all five in five – would experience.

Mental Health America’s Mental Health Month toolkit this year focuses on resiliency, offering tools to help. These tools will be more useful than ever during COVID-19’s social distancing measures. There is bonus material in the toolkit specifically focused on the coronavirus, and how we can all work together to support our mental health in the face of uncertainty.

Mental Health Month 2020 Toolkit

Nurse Panel Discussion on COVID-19

Minnesota nurses, Megan, Alethea, and Sari, participated in our nurse panel discussion on COVID-19 on Monday, April 27, 2020. Our outreach coordinator, Samantha Hedden, facilitated the conversation. The nurses discussed their mental health, how the pandemic has affected their jobs and lives, and how the community can best help during this time.

Watch the presentation.

Are you a worker on the front lines of the pandemic like Megan, Alethea, or Sari? Free mental health phone support is available through our partnership with the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, Minnesota Psychological Association, and the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists. Learn more.

COVID Cares Telephone Support Service Established for Minnesota Responders

The Minnesota Psychiatric Society (MPS), the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA), the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists, and Mental Health Minnesota (MHM) have teamed up to create a mental health support hotline to serve workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The support line went live on April 13, 2020, and volunteer licensed mental health personnel are now available from 9 AM to 9 PM, every day a week.

“I’m proud that Mental Health Minnesota has the opportunity to help serve those working hard in communities across our state to save lives,” said Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota’s executive director. “We all have a part to play in fighting COVID-19, and we hope that mental health support will help reduce the stress and anxiety felt by those on the front lines of the pandemic.”

“People working on the front lines of the pandemic are experiencing unparalleled levels of stress,” stated MPS President, Sheila Specker, M.D. “So it is heartening to see the immediate response from the mental health community in Minnesota, rising up and joining together to serve and support Minnesotans on the front lines of this pandemic – healthcare workers, first responders, and all essential personnel.”

Individuals who desire to use this free service and reach an on-call volunteer should click here or visit www.FastTrackerMN.org. This call support service is best suited for cell phone use for one-click connections.

“By being ready to listen, help, and inform, licensed mental health personnel will help give our heroes in this pandemic battle the tools they need to stay strong and be well,” added MPA President Willie Garrett, Ed.D., L.P.

MMC Web Workshop: Wellness for Creatives

Samantha Hedden, our Outreach Coordinator, participated in a web workshop on wellness, hosted by the Minnesota Music Coalition on April 10, 2020. She discussed Mental Health Minnesota tools and resources, including our Warmline, Helpline, CONNECT initiative, and mental health screenings to help artists and all Minnesotans find healthy ways to stay well, cope, and remain positive and motivated during this unprecedented and challenging time.

She also commented on how telemedicine amid COVID-19 is increasing access to care.

“Telemedicine is a good transition to helping people that just can’t make it to an in-person meeting because of various reasons, whether it being their mental health is poor, they have small kids, or they have a physical disability where they are not able to get there. Telemedicine is the next step to being able to offer mental health services to everybody.”

Watch the full webinar.