Mental Health during COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has been universally stressful — and the word “pandemic” itself creates anxiety.
The longer-term nature of the outbreak has meant significant changes to long-held routines and behaviors. With the added requirements to wear masks and to continue to stay apart from friends and relatives, many are struggling to find balance.
It’s important to take care of yourself and find ways to reduce your stress level and support your mental health — and to help your family do the same. These resources may help:
- How Are You Feeling? We are often asked this, and we say “fine.” But this has been a difficult time, and emotions can be complex. You may be feeling sad, worried, or stressed. Whatever you’re feeling right now, find help and ideas on the website How Right Now.
- Practicing Gratefulness can help reduce stress and benefit physical and emotional well-being. Learn more about ways to practice gratitude, and find resources to help.
- Stress and Coping with COVID-19 (CDC) – Ways to cope with stress related to COVID-19.
- Mental Health and COVID-19 (Mental Health America) – Information and resources for different needs and groups.
- COVID-19 and Your Mental Health (Mayo Clinic) – Self-care strategies and suggestions for getting help when you need it.
- Talking with Children and Teens about COVID-19 (CDC) – Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children.
- Family Health & Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic (NJ American Academy of Pediatrics) – Resources for parents and children, including parenting, education, and basic needs.
- 2-1-1 New Jersey Mental Health Resources – Available resources and information.
- How to Handle Coronavirus (Crisis Text Line) – Advice and tips for students, parents, healthcare workers, those experiencing financial stress, and anyone struggling with isolation.
Essex County also offers a resource page for Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and Other Resources.
Resources for Living with Mental Illness
Those living with existing mental illness may find their conditions worsening during this time. These guides provide advice and information on where to reach out for help. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 9-1-1, text 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line, or call/text one of the lines listed here.
- COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (PDF) from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook (PDF) from The Wellness Society
Resources for Children and Families
These free, downloadable resources can help parents communicate with kids about COVID-19.
- COVID-19 for Kids: Conversation Tips About COVID-19 for Each Grade Level (PDF) – presented by the National Association of School Psychologists
- Stayin’ Alive: Spread the Word, Not the Virus (PDF) – Summary of illness prevention & presentation and prep checklist
- We’re Going to Be OK (PDF) -- Children’s book with tips & advice by Dr. Ebony Jade Hilton & Dr. Leigh-Ann Webb, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin Webb
- Health Emergencies: Sesame Street- Various resources and information for children and parents related to COVID-19. Activities for children as well.
Resources for Older Adults
Click here to find information about cognitive health, friendship & mental health, and elder abuse.
Resources for Healthcare Workers
Heal NJ Healthcare Workers provides helpline services that are available from 8:00am-8:00pm 7 days a week to provide covid-19 crisis counseling support to healthcare workers.
Coping with Covid-19 Support Groups
RWJ Barnabas Health: Hope and Healing Program is offering a variety of free virtual weekly support groups to provide emotional support to assist with coping with the covid-19 pandemic.
MHA of Essex and Morris is offering a variety of free virtual support groups for adults, children, and teens to assist with the coping with the pandemic. Individual counseling services and other mental health resources are available as well.
Bereavement Support Groups
If you have experienced the death of a loved one during this time, there is support available.
- NJ 2-1-1 General Bereavement Support Groups
- Atlantic Health System – Coronavirus Grief and Loss Support Group: Wednesdays, 12 pm – 1 pm, starting April 22, 2020. Meetings are virtual, via Zoom. To register call 862-260-3199 and press option 3. You will need to provide an email address to receive an invitation for the Zoom meeting.
- Jewish Family Service is offering a bereavement support group for seniors who have lost a loved one because of COVID-19. It is being held virtually via Zoom, and the phone number to sign up is 973-765-9050. This group is open to everyone, regardless of their religion.
Visit our Mental Health page for more information and resources for crisis situations, children, veterans, and stress.