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Coping with Corona, part 2: Mental health & recovery support FAQ

In our 2nd Coping with Corona post, we are responding to Frequently Asked Questions from community members and providers: How can I manage my stress? Support my own or my loved one's recovery? Access and pay for therapy? Provide telehealth? Find support in Spanish?

1. What's available to help manage the daily stress?

Organizations right here in CT are offering wonderful free supports on a daily basis: phone meditations, Qi-gong and yoga on Facebook Live, warmlines that you can call to talk, online check-ins, and more. Click through the recent flyers below for more info. We are posting links to these on our calendar to make it easy to look each day and click to join any of these options! Please email us about new options we should add!

2. What about support for substance use?

It's safest to attend a virtual meeting (online). Below are some being run right here in CT:

AA, NA, Marijuana Anonymous, Refuge Recovery, LifeRing, SMART Recovery, and so many other programs have free online options; get the list of virtual meeting rooms here. Now is also a great time to sign up for CCAR's Telephone Recovery Support, where a trained Recovery Coach will call you once a week to check in: sign up in English or Spanish.

The Hub is holding weekly SMART Recovery meetings for teens and adults ages 18+ online, led by local facilitators whose groups will continue in person in our region after the pandemic comes to an end. SMART tools can help you handle mental health as well as substance use challenges. Flyer below:

3. What about help for me or my loved one who is an active user?

The isolation and stress of staying at home during the pandemic is a big risk factor. If you use alcohol or other drugs, click on the images below for recommendations for harm reduction:

If you have a family member you are trying to support, the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) model is very effective. SMART Recovery for Family & Friends is based on the CRAFT model and helps you learn skills to cope with a loved one who is struggling. The Hub's SMART Family & Friends group will be running an 8-week program as of this Thursday, 3/26, starting at 6:30. Join any Thursday by clicking here.

For more family support, check out last week's recorded webinar, Parenting in the Age of Coronavirus.

4. How can I access & pay for therapy while at home?

Many local providers are offering their services via phone or videoconferencing. Find agencies near you here and call about an online appointment. Both Medicare (click here) and HUSKY/Medicaid (here) are now covering online "telehealth" consults for mental health. If you have commercial insurance, they may be covering telehealth consults but you will have to check with your plan. (We are working with legislators on this!)

If you need to apply for Medicare or access other Social Security benefits at this time, click here for info on DSS online support.

5. What should providers know?

  • 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 here) and HUSKY/Medicaid (here) are now covering online "telehealth" consults for mental health (audio and/or video). NASW-CT warns that CT state law does not allow audio-only consults. (Be sure to follow NASW or your professional association for further updates.)

  • 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.

6. What's available in Spanish?

  • SAMHSA handout on how to handle stress during a contagious disease outbreak here

  • Child Mind Institute recommendations on how to talk to your children (re-post from last week) here

  • Harm reduction guidelines for activer users here

  • CCAR Telephone Recovery Support: Sign up in Spanish here

  • CT Young Adult Warmline in Spanish: Send text to (860) 549-2435 asking for help in Spanish to get a call-back from Luz

  • Call la Red Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio (national suicide lifeline) to talk: Available 24/7 at 1-888-628-9454

7. Staying Updated

Don't forget to check out the video and other resources fom our first post here about managing your mental health during this stressful time, how to talk with your family, and a variety of free online supports.

For recommendations to providers about behavioral health during the pandemic, visit SAMHSA's coronavirus page here.

For the latest information about coronavirus in Connecticut, dial 2-1-1 or text CTCOVID to 898211 or visit

Now take a few minutes to breathe with Jaysea Devoe, Yoga for Teens:

Be well!

-Your friends at The Hub: Amy, Eliza, Ella, Giovanna, Margaret, Rai

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