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:

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 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.

Mental Health Minnesota Announces “CONNECT” Initiative to Fight Social Isolation

Mental Health Minnesota is pleased to announce the kick-off of CONNECT, an initiative aimed at fighting the social isolation many people in Minnesota are feeling as a result of social distancing/COVID-19.

The CONNECT initiative provides social connections by phone between volunteers and people who may be struggling with social isolation, loneliness, stress, anxiety or worry during the social distancing related to COVID-19. In addition to connecting, volunteers will also be able to provide people with information and resources to help address any mental health concerns if needed.

Long-term social isolation and/or loneliness can be detrimental to both mental health and physical health, according to a number of studies, one of which noted that the impact of long-term loneliness on physical health was equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

“For many people across Minnesota, social distancing and “staying at home” is increasing levels of anxiety, stress, and worry. It’s our hope that our organization and volunteers can help address that,” said Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota’s executive director. “We’re all making big adjustments in our lives, and it’s really difficult. But social distancing does not have to mean social isolation and loneliness.”

Anyone in Minnesota can sign up to receive phone calls from Mental Health Minnesota volunteers at Those interested in serving as volunteers can also sign up our website.

Discover more mental health and COVID-19/social distancing resources. 

Minnesotans Encouraged to Take Care of Mental Health During Social Distancing

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases daily in Minnesota, across the United States and around the world, so do levels of anxiety, stress, and worry. For many, these feelings are compounded by social distancing.

It’s important to protect the health and safety of everyone, and the only way to do that is to prevent and slow the spread of the disease through social distancing and other quarantine measures. Yet while we protect our physical health during this pandemic, we can’t forget to address our mental health.

“Nationally, online screenings for anxiety have increased by nearly 20% over the last few weeks, and for many, social distancing inevitably means isolation and loneliness,” said Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota’s executive director. “It’s essential that people take care of their mental health as well as their physical health at this time, and we are working to share information, resources and suggestions that can help with that.”

Suggestions for managing mental health concerns during COVID-19/social distancing:

  1. Check-in with others and connect through more than just email, text, and social media. Call or video chat with your friends and family to make sure they are okay and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  2. Identify things you can do to reduce stress and anxiety. Consider what has helped you handle stress in the past, and make adjustments as needed to do those things (i.e. connecting with friends via Facetime instead of over coffee, exercise/yoga videos online instead of a group class, etc.)
  3. Maintain structure in your day. Many people are now working remotely and/or are at home with their children. Creating structure/schedule in your day can help daily life to feel more “normal.”
  4. Get outside if you can, even if it’s just in your yard, on a balcony, or just opening a window. Fresh air and sunshine can be very helpful in improving overall mood and decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.
  5. Take breaks from social media and news articles that are focused on COVID-19. While it’s important to stay informed, too much information can be overwhelming.
  6. If you’re concerned about your mental health, take a free, anonymous mental health screening at If you screen positive for a mental health condition, you’ll receive resources and information about next steps.
  7.  Know the resources that can help you, including the following:

For more resources related to mental health and COVID-19/social distancing, visit

COVID-19: Make Mental Health a Priority Too

“40 percent of American adults say they are socially isolated.” Our Executive Director, Shannah Mulvihill, discussed with Fox 9 Buzz on March 17, 2020, the need to make mental health not just physical health, a priority during this COVID-19 emergency period. With our country on lockdown and social distancing measures in effect, those who already feel isolated are struggling. In fact, we’ve seen a 20 percent increase in anxiety screenings across the country over the last few weeks.

Shannah recommends checking in with others through not just text or email, but through phone calls and video chats. Practicing self-care to reduce stress, worry and anxiety on a regular basis is important too, as is adding structure to your day. And getting outside, even in our backyards or balconies (or just opening a window!) to get some fresh air and sunshine can also help!

Connecting with our Minnesota Warmline can also benefit those experiencing increased feelings of isolation.

Mental Health Day on the Hill

Make your voice heard! Join us on March 12th to advocate for children and adults living with mental illnesses and their families at Mental Health Day on the Hill 2020 at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. Over 300 mental health advocates will gather, listen to legislative leaders, and make some noise in support of building our mental health system…And we want you to be a part of it! The day will start with an issue/education session, then we will move on to the rally and visits with legislators.

We need your voice…Find out more about this event here!