Coping with COVID-19

We're all feeling anxious about the coronavirus, concerned about isolation, worried about our jobs and our families. Just remember: Social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation! In fact, staying engaged with others is the best way to manage the stress, focus on positives, and worry less--even while "hunkering down" at home.

In the sections below, we've assembled videos & resources for managing your own mental health & supporting your family.  We also showcase the many crisis supports, warmlines, connection and recovery support options that are out there and free. Take advantage of them! (To find free online supports right now, visit our calendar and click on "Agenda" in the top right corner.) And know that mental health and substance use therapy is still available, whether by phone or online. (Find treatment agencies here.) Please note: If you have a state phone, you have unlimited talk and text plus extra data during COVID, so you can take advantage of online services & supports! 


Helpful advice on coping with COVID anxiety: UNICEF video featuring Kati Morton, LMFT

  • CDC tips for yourself, parents, responders, and people released from quarantine here.

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention tips for self-care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty.

  • World Health Organization handout here.

  • COVID-19 Mental Wellness Video Series by the Town of Darien

  • Coping with Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19 by Andrew Gerber, MD, PhD of Silver Hill Hospital here 

  • Good Morning Wilton article here

  • Expert panel on "Resilience, Parenting, and Coping Strategies for Everyone During Uniquely Challenging Times" here


Check our our COVID playlists:

Local partners talking about teletherapy, mental health supports, and behavioral health services 

(1 video series in English, 1 in Spanish)

MHFA physical distancing.png


Create structure in your day: Being on lockdown is disorienting. To rebalance, plan out a daily schedule with your household members that incorporates work/school time; together time; check-in calls with friends or neighbors; doing something creative; doing something relaxing; and getting exercise. The 8 Dimensions of Wellness model offers a way to stay balanced.

Get outside: Fresh air, sunlight, and exercise (at a safe distance!) are all good for your mental wellbeing and physical health. A fun inclusive way to exercise is  Oak Hill CT's Adaptive Gym classes on Facebook Live and YouTube, which people of all abilities can do together, or Toivo's daily online wellness activities such as yoga and Qi-Gong.

Practice gratitude: Be grateful for things little and big. Challenged by distance learning? It's still an opportunity to spend more time with kids. Missing company? What a great time to start Zoom dinners and games with remote friends. Bored out of your mind? See it as an opportunity to get household projects done or learn a new craft. Check out this daily evening inventory from BlessingManifesting. 



When you're feeling overwhelmed, know that there are free options to help you talk through your crisis--and to send help when necessary. Click the image to open and scroll through flyers for free 24/7 hotlines. You can also right-click to download them. 



Check out a warmline, where you can talk one-on-one with someone with similar experience: a young adult; a senior; a peer who has dealt with mental health or substance use challenges. Click the image to open and scroll through the flyers for warmlines. You can also right-click to download them. 


LOOKING FOR A MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT GROUP? There are online meetings for just checking in & chatting, meetings for young adults, peer support groups, and meetings for family members of someone who is struggling. Click the image to open and scroll through flyers for online mental health support groups. You can also right-click to download them. 



There are online 12-step meetings, CCAR all-recovery meetings, SMART Recovery & more. Download Norwalk Hospital's list of online meetings here. Also, CCAR's Telephone Recovery Support program is available in English or Spanish. Click the image to open and scroll through flyers for online recovery support groups. You can also right-click to download them. 



There are daily phone meditations, yoga classes, coloring, and other activities orgnanized by groups right here in CT> Click the image to open and scroll through flyers for online wellness activities. You can also right-click to download them. 



SAMHSA has multiple short guidance documents on providing mental health and substance use care during COVID-19, including expanding telehealth & providing MAT via telehealth, as well as considerations for dealing with withdrawal from alcohol or benzos, providing buprenorphine or suboxone, and more. See page here.  

During the coronavirus epidemic, HHS will not penalize providers for using non-HIPAA approved technologies when necessary to meet client needs.

Both Medicare (click hereand HUSKY/Medicaid (here) are now covering online "telehealth" consults for mental health (audio and/or video). 

TherapyNotes has useful guidance for therapists implementing telehealth urgently as a result of the pandemic.  

Suggested script and guidance on note-writing for therapists here

SAMHSA has a 6-part online training to help behavioral health agencies plan for and implement telehealth; training covers financing, logistics, technology, etc. 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has FAQs on Telehealth and HIPAA during the COVID-19 nationwide
public health emergency.

DEA letter on BUP treatment and on the Controlled Substances Act here

Resources for social workers


Talking to Your Kids

This is a good time to open up conversations with your whole family around social supports, self-esteem, substance use, and more:   

NPR’s Just For Kids presents a comic exploring The New Coronavirus 

PBS KIDS’ Daniel Tiger explains How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus identifies possible concerns kids may have, including the worry that their parents may die, here 

The National Association of School Psychologists has downloadable factsheets in English and Spanish, as well as links to government factsheets on coping stress during infectious disease outbreaks

Great advice from Positive Directions (Westport) and the Search Institute (click here  to open and scroll through images)

Spanish: Cómo hablar con los niños sobre el coronavirus from Child Mind Institute here

Resources from the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for the US here

Pathways to Empower, by CT resident Donna Volpitta, is making social-emotional videos & resources for nursery through 5th grade available (free and $5) here

Videos & discussion resources to support resilience and prevent substance use for middle and high school students and families from "Natural High" here

Courageous Parenting online education for parents around substance use awareness and prevention, from Norwalk-based Courage to Speak, here

Check-in At Home activities from the CT-based Jordan Porco Foundation (creator of Fresh Check Day) -- click here.


We are grateful for...

  • The time we've had to work on those back-burner projects. Our closets have never been cleaner!

  • The heroic healthcare and emergency workers on the front line every day. 

  • The everyday heroes who show up to work at a scary time to deliver food, clean buildings, and sell essentials.  

  • Our dedicated teachers adapting daily to the new normal. 

  • Our neighbors and friends who are checking in.

  • Our community groups for moving all their operations and social supports online.

  • The technology that makes it possible for so many of us to work and study at home, to play games with friends, have dinner with quarantined family, and attend worship services online! 

  • Our pets, who give us an excuse to get outside.
  • Spring! Warm weather and flowers lift our mood.

  • May 20th... the beginning of the end is in sight.

  • Send someone a thank-you note (here)!


The Hub: Behavioral Health Action Organization for Southwestern CT

A division of the Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP) 

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