Emotional and Spiritual Support

Mental Health & Social Services Recovery Working Group

Nationally, we are witnessing an increased incidence of clinically significant anxiety, traumatic exposures, chronic stress, and complicated grief, which has significantly expanded the demand for behavioral health services, at the same time as behavioral health treatment systems and providers report difficulty remaining open. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, warns that the coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to mental health and well-being. The pandemic is a chronic stressor and has generated great uncertainty that is not set to resolve in the near future. As public servants, we comprehend the need for immediate responses and innovation, but with real-time data on the needs in our communities not readily available, we worry about our ability to be proactive and to move bureaucratic mechanisms at the speed of light. As professionals deeply committed to our fellow Americans, this weighs on us heavily.

Major stressors can be a tipping point for those that are otherwise healthy and well in non-crisis situations. Many of the pandemic’s effects come from secondary stressors, such as the shutdowns in each state. We find ourselves homeschooling kids, facing summer recess without camp and other activities, dealing with round-the-clock childcare or unruly teenagers, caring for elderly parents, running full-time households, trying to stay safe while getting groceries, all while trying to be productive in the workplace. Many Americans are unemployed and experiencing financial crises they will not recover from, have lost a loved one to the virus, or are essential workers exposed to harm. Add to this the recent national trauma stemming from the murder of George Floyd and the consequent eruption of anger and unresolved trauma surrounding systemic racism and structural inequality in America, the changed environment puts those experiencing anxiety, fear depression, isolation and loneliness in danger of negative mental health outcomes.

Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation tells us that our communities of color are suffering disproportionately due to the virus, the economic crisis, and long-term social and economic barriers to equality. As these crises continue, government agencies and non-governmental organizations can and should create psychologically healthy workplaces, where people feel taken care of and safe. We suggest an excellent resource as we all learn to cope with stressors and respond to mental health crises together: NAMI COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES GUIDE.


Many are struggling to cope emotionally with the COVID-19 outbreak. The free, national Disaster Distress Helpline is a source for 24/7 crisis counseling and emotional support.

Calls to 1-800-985-5990 and texts (text TalkWithUs to 66746) are answered by trained counselors from a network of independently operated crisis centers located across the United States.


 National helplines that have COVID-19 specific services

SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) HelpLine 

Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, EST at 1-800-950-6264

Veterans Crisis Line: Suicide Prevention Hotline, Text & Chat

Free, confidential support for Veterans in crisis and their families and friends. Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text to 838255

More Information Here

The Trevor Project — Saving Young LGBTQ Lives

A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. 1-866-488-7386 (Open 24/7). More Information Here