• Hayoung (Talia) Cho & Kilin Tang

Mental Health During a Pandemic (Part II)

 #MentalHealthMatters





Hotline Shortlist*:


National Suicide Prevention Hotline (NSPH): Call: 1-800-273-8255 

En Español: 1-888-628-9454 

For those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss: Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-(800)-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255, or use the online chat feature

For those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss: 1-800-799-4889.

Disaster Distress Helpline: Call: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 


*More information about these hotlines can be found later in our blog posts.


Introduction

During this unprecedented time stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel stressed and pressured from the sudden changes occurring in your daily life. Adhering to physical distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart from our friends, co-workers, and communities has inextricably isolated ourselves from those we love and cherish, contributing to increased feelings of loneliness—a struggle that more and more Americans are facing every year. In addition, the interruption of COVID-19 has taken a toll on our economy. With 21 million Americans currently unemployed, an increasing number of low-income families are struggling to pay the bills, leading to rising levels of stress and anxiety. Finally, the grief and suffering that one may feel from losing a loved one from COVID-19 (which has killed over 125,000 Americans) only serves to escalate the current mental health crisis our nation faces.


For the next two weeks, we will focus on mental health and how it has impacted the Greater Charlotte Area. The first week will be centered around different mental health disorders, how mental health has influenced communities, and ways to access professional support. The second week will emphasize methods to increase awareness and ways to cope with stress at home. We hope that our blogs will inform the communities in the Greater Charlotte Area, among many others, about the importance of mental health and how to mitigate some of the stress interrupting our daily lives. 


Anxiety, Stress, and Suicide


With COVID-19 has already infected over 2.7 million Americans, the pandemic’s effects are far more widespread than currently reported. A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll finds that 56% of adults in the United States are experiencing increased stress due to the instability that COVID-19 has presented, resulting in negative effects on our mental health—such as problems sleeping or eating or increased alcohol consumption. With increasing cases in southern states, this mental health burden will further increase from additional measures taken to reduce its spread, whether that be social distancing, closing of business, or shelter-in-place orders. 


The underlying anxiety due to the economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is likely a major contributor to such increased stress levels. Emotional and psychological trauma resulting from the pressure to keep a roof over a family’s head and to put food on the table will haunt many Americans for months, even years to come. Certainly, with about 13% of Americans unemployed, the short term impacts are already apparent. A study of the 2007 Great Recession found that for every 1% increase in the unemployment rate, there was a 1.6% increase in suicide rates.


Being exposed to constant updates about COVID-19 updates from the news and social media, especially when isolated from friends and family, can have additional impacts on our mental health. While frontline workers are at a disproportionate risk of not only contracting the virus but also psychological trauma from coming in contact with sick patients daily, spending hours glued to the television or any type of social media reading about bleak pandemic updates can exacerbate anxiety and even cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As such, we would recommend figuring out the optimal amount of information to stay informed so that you can limit screen time usage.


***If you feel that you are experiencing any sort of anxiety, stress, or suicidal thoughts, please contact one of the free, confidential hotlines listed in this blog post and reach out to mental health organizations listed below for additional, long-term support.


Mental Health Organizations 


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 

About: As the nation’s largest mental health grassroot organization, NAMI educates, advocates, listens, and leads those afflicted by mental illnesses. 

Website: https://www.nami.org/home

NAMI Charlotte: Website

NAMI NC: Website

NAMI Helpline: Call: 1-800-950-6264 *Scroll down for more information on NAMI 

NAMI Online Knowledge Center: NAMI has created a Helpline library with articles on Children, Teens, Young Adults, and Emotional & Crisis Support. Click here to visit the library. 

Special Events: NAMI is hosting a FREE virtual event on July 13-14 to discuss a variety of topics on mental health. Learn more about the logistics by checking out their schedule. 


American Hospital Association

About: The AHA has compiled resources and National Mental Health organizations into 7 categories: Behavioral Health Advocacy, Disorders, Governmental/Federal, Membership Organizations, Safety & Quality, Substance Abuse, and Sucide Prevention. Learn More. 


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

About: NIMH is a research funding agency that provides various mental health resources and publications. 

Website: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml

Contact info:

Live Online Chat: Link

Call: 1-866-615-6464 (toll-free), 1-301-443-8431 (TTY), or 1-866-415-8051 (TTY toll-free) from Monday–Friday from 5 am–8 pm ET

Email: nimhinfo@nih.gov

Read about Mental Health Disorders: Website 

Download or Order Free Brochures and Fact Sheets on Mental Health Disorders: Link *Note: Spanish versions are also available. 

Participate in Clinical Research Trials: Link

Learn More: Link


Mental Health America of Central Carolinas (MHA) 

About: MHA has expanded its support circle and provides mental health services to the Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties in NC. 

Website: https://www.mhacentralcarolinas.org

Contact Info:

Call: (704) 365-3454 Monday–Friday from 9 am–5pm 

Email: mha@mhacentralcarolinas.org

Request form: Link

Mental Health Matters Talk Show is a Free Virtual Series through Zoom for a 30 minute mental health discussion. Learn More or Register for Free Here

QPR Suicide Prevention Training provides 2 hour live Zoom meetings. Register for Free Here.

ParentVOICE hosts live Zoom meetings for 1 hour to provide empowerment for Parent/Caretaker Groups on Tuesdays from 2:30–3:30 pm and for the Youth (12-19 year olds) on Thursdays from 3:00–4:00 pm. For more information, please contact the individuals listed below.

Parent/Caretaker Groups: 

Candace Wilson: 7045175364 cwilson@mhacentralcarolinas.org

Cathy Johnson: 9804061169 cjohnson@mhacentralcarolinas.org

Youth: 

Kevin Markle: 9804061527 kmarkle@mhacentralcarolinas.org


Read about more mental health organization from MentalHealth.gov

Website: https://www.mentalhealth.gov

Local organizations: Link


Hotline Resources


Below is a list of free hotlines to contact if you are experiencing any type of mental health illness. We encourage you to save these numbers in your contacts and share these resources with your friends and family.


1. National Suicide Prevention Hotline (NSPH): 1-800-273-8255


The NSPH provides free and confidential support for those considering suicide and those in any sort of distress 24/7.


2. Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741


Within 5 minutes of texting HOME to the above number, the Crisis Text Line will put you in contact with a Crisis Counselor (a trained volunteer) that will provide you with support and put you in contact with the resources to deal with any crisis you are going through.


3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-(800)-950-6264, text NAMI to 741741, or email info@nami.org


The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide service line available from Monday through Friday from 10 AM–6 PM ET that provides you with the information and resources to support those affected by mental health conditions, family members and caregivers, and mental health providers.


4. Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255, or use the online chat feature


Talk to the Department of Veterans Affairs 24/7 for free. This service is for veterans, all service members, National Guard and Reserve, and their family and friends. 


5. Disaster Distress Helpline: Call: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 


The disaster distress helpline is a free, multilingual crisis counseling available 24/7 for people who are experiencing emotional distress. 


Stay safe out there and know that you are not alone!



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