Posted: April 21 2020 at 12:00 AM
Author: By Rev. Cheryl Magrini, NIC Committee on Accessibility Ministries
This coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions may be causing increased feelings of anxiety, loneliness, isolation, and other fears for some. The NIC Committee on Accessibility Ministries asks pastors and caregivers: How are you taking care of yourself in the midst of caring for others at this time? First, pace yourself. Second, be your own best friend.
Many 12-step groups and in-person support groups have suspended meetings. Some are offering online options via a live support group, meeting or a community forum.
Here are some mental health support resources:
- Illinois Call4Calm Text Line: If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link you to a counselor in your area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.
- Illinois Warm Line: If you or one of you family members has mental health and/or substance use challenges and would like to receive support by phone, call the Illinois Warm Line at 866-359-7953. Wellness Support Specialists are professionals who have experienced mental health and/or substance use recovery in their own lives. They are trained in recovery support, mentoring, and advocacy and are ready to listen and support you. The Warm Line is not a crisis hotline but is a source of support as you recover or help a family member to recover. Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8 am-5 pm except holidays.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hour): If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Help Line: 800-950-NAMI (6264) or email email@example.com. Crisis text line: type NAMI 741741. For an in-depth COVID-19 guide with tips and resources visit nami.org.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: Find support at dbsalliance.org and click on “support”.
- Mental Health America online community forums: inspire.com/groups/mental-health-america.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention information and resources for a positive message afsp.org/campaigns/covid-19
- Alcoholics Anonymous online meetings via Skype aaonlinemeeting.net
- Rosecrance: Thanks to the challenge of social distancing, Rosecrance has created a virtual community online for outpatient counseling, family counseling for residential clients, family visits with loved ones in our residential sites, and alumni support. Click here for more information or call 888-928-5278.
Self-care strategies for you:
- Remember to eat. Plan enough time for grocery shopping so you will not be rushed. Buy healthy greens, fruit, and protein that will last several days.
- Have a healthy sleep routine. Keep paper nearby to write down thoughts that are keeping you awake and let them go. Even if you think you need less than eight hours of sleep, your cells, cognitive functioning and body systems will thank you for getting enough sleep. Turn off Netflix and the phone.
- Reach out. Worry, anxiety, stress, depression and thoughts of self-harm intensify when held inside. Identify with whom you can talk, how to communicate via online, phone, texting. Keep resource numbers with you.
- Breathe deeply. Spend five to ten minutes in focused slow deep breathing and muscle relaxation in the morning, before sleeping, and in the moment when stressed or anxious.
- Ration media. Stay informed but do not obsess.
- Just move. Get outside. Take stretch breaks throughout the day. Walk in place. Praying for God's strength with and within you each moment.