Concern over the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, can make any of us upset and anxious, especially individuals with mental health conditions and their loved ones. For the latest information and advice about how to protect yourself and your family and what to do if you have symptoms, please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
NAMI Main Line has moved our ongoing support groups to an online format using Zoom (with call-in option), started Wellness Chats, and compiled the resources below to help you maintain your health and well-being during this time of uncertainty. For late-breaking news of relevant resources and opportunities, please sign up for our Facebook posts ( https://www.facebook.com/NAMIPAMainLine/) or tweets (https://twitter.com/NAMIPAMainLine/).
If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, call the crisis line for your county or you can call 911 (e.g. if there is immediate danger of physical harm). In Southeastern Pennsylvania, call:
Bucks County: 800.499.7455
Chester County: 877.918.2100
Delaware County: 855.889.7827
Montgomery County: 855.634.4673
Philadelphia County: 215.686.4420
You can also call one of the following national hotlines to be referred to the closest crisis center:
888.628.9454 (for Spanish speakers)
or text “PA” to the Crisis Text Line: 741-741.
Lifeline Chat, available 24/7, is a service of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, connecting individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
For resources to help you cope with, prepare for and/or prevent a crisis, see https://namimainlinepa.org/resources-for-coping-with-preparing-for-and-preventing-a-crisis/.
Warm Lines, Help Lines and General Information
Warm lines are available to call when you or a loved one with mental illness wants support. Local warm lines are available at https://namimainlinepa.org/services-in-sepa-2/intro-to-services/#-2.-Help-Lines-and-Warm-Lines- .
If you need general information, try a local help line. Many help lines are operating on a reduced schedule or on a return call basis. https://namimainlinepa.org/services-in-sepa-2/intro-to-services/#-2.-Help-Lines-and-Warm-Lines-
Montgomery County Peer Support or Teen Talk Line
Hours: Sunday through Saturday, 1:00 – 9:00 p.m.
All Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs) in Montgomery County are continuing to provide service and can provide therapy via the phone.
NAMI National has prepared information and resources in their COVID-19 Resource Guide, available at https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf, see especially info about how to get medical care and prescriptions on pages 4-6.
Advice for parents on how to support kids during the coronavirus crisis is available at https://childmind.org/article/supporting-kids-during-the-covid-19-crisis/.
Additional advice for parents of teens and young adults can be found at https://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/.
The Emergency Food Map of Montgomery County now shows locations where families with school-age children can pick up meals during the coronavirus shutdown, as well as food pantries and soup kitchens across the county.
Be a Part of the Conversation, an organization that provides support to families who are living with substance use issues, has put together a page of virtual and online resources for people in recovery, dealing with grief, and loved ones at https://conversation.zone/connected/.
Virtual Support Group Meetings
For Family Members:
NAMI Main Line will offer our regularly scheduled support groups in a virtual format using Zoom. Please contact support group leaders for the specific link and/or call-in number.
- Our Bryn Mawr Family Member Support Group meets the first Monday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Please contact Diane at email@example.com for more information.
- Our Havertown NAMI Family Support Group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Please contact Nora at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Our Parent Peer Support Group for parents with a middle school through young adult child meets on Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15 p.m. Please contact Nancy for more information at email@example.com.
NAMI Family Member Support Groups offered by NAMI Montgomery County will meet using Zoom.
Zoom link for all Family Member Groups: https://zoom.us/j/462164157 or to join via phone dial 1-929-205-6099 and enter meeting ID 462 164 157.
Meetings will take place on:
1st Mondays at 7 p.m.
2nd Mondays at 7 p.m.
1st Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
2nd Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. (this group is off in April, start again in May)
NAMI Bucks County will be offering multiple Family Member Support Groups. Please see the schedule at https://namibuckspa.org/support/online-support-groups/.
NAMI National has prepared information and resources in their COVID-19 Resource Guide, available at https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf, see the “Finding Online Support Communities” info on pages 2-3.
For Individuals with Mental Health Conditions:
NAMI Main Line’s NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group will meet virtually on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. using Zoom. For more information, please contact Danielle Sulpizio at (484) 880-0660 or Ed Kane at (484) 744-0860.
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups offered by NAMI Montgomery County will meet using Zoom.
Zoom link for ALL Connection groups: https://zoom.us/j/459376426 or dial in option: 1-929-205-6099 meeting ID 459 376 426.
Meetings will take place on:
1st Mondays at 5 p.m.
1st and 3rd Saturdays at 10 a.m.
2nd and 4th Thursdays at 7 p.m. (through APRIL ONLY) then moves back to 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
NAMI Bucks County will be offering multiple support groups for individuals with mental health conditions. Please see the schedule at https://namibuckspa.org/support/online-support-groups/.
Hearing Voices Network
These groups are accessible via web-based platforms and by phone. They hold all the same values as groups that meet in community! Online groups are specifically for those with personal lived experience with hearing voices, seeing visions, and/or negotiating alternative realities. They are voice-hearer facilitated. With further questions and for details on how to access the group please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
DBSA online support groups provide people living with depression and bipolar disorder a place to share experiences, discuss coping skills, and offer hope to one another. DBSA support groups are peer-led, meaning they are facilitated by someone living with a mood disorder. Currently there are groups for peers, young adults, and friends and family members. For more information, to view the meeting schedule or to sign up for a group, please go to https://www.dbsalliance.org/support/chapters-and-support-groups/online-support-groups/.
NAMI National has prepared information and resources in their COVID–19 Resource Guide, available at https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf, see the “Finding Online Support Communities” info on pages 2-3.
Wellness Chats for ALL
NAMI Main Line is offering Wellness Chats – a place FOR ANYONE – to come together virtually to share how you are handling your wellness and challenges, while we are practicing social distancing. Chats will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-6 p.m. The information to join the wellness chats is as follows:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 655 820 752
Or you can join us by phone by dialing 1-646-558-8656.
NAMI Montgomery County is offering NAMIWellness Chats – a place FOR ANYONE – to come together virtually to share how they are handling their wellness – the good, bad, and ugly while we are practicing social distancing.
Chats will be held every Monday and Wednesday at 2 pm. The information to join the wellness chats are as follows:
Join Zoom Meeting
Or Dial In: +1 929 205 6099
Meeting ID: 869 323 845
Tips on Coping
Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies
(Excerpted from NAMI National Blog By Katherine Ponte, BA, JD, MBA, CPRP on Mar. 20, 2020)
The coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially for those with mental illness. Both the anxiety of contracting the disease as well as the increase in loneliness and isolation can worsen and trigger symptoms. Acknowledging, recognizing and acting on mental distress in these uncertain times is key to lessening the impact.
What Can I Do?
With an awareness of mental health risks, we can work towards coping with this challenging situation and reduce the potential impact on our mental health. Here is a list of coping strategies to help get you through these uncertain times.
Be Mindful Of Your News Consumption The news can be helpful by encouraging precautions and prevention, but compulsively and obsessively reading and watching about the outbreak can be detrimental to mental health.
- Limit your sources: Rely on only one or two reliable sources of news as misinformation and bad reporting are rampant. The CDC is a great resource for updates and precautions.
- Practice acceptance: Accept that the news coverage will not answer all your questions or address all your worries. Accept uncertainty. Trust that officials around the globe and the medical community are trying their best to address the situation.
- Limit consumption: Consume only what you need to know, what’s most relevant to you and particularly what is happening or anticipated in your own community. Limit yourself to checking one or two times per day.
- Distinguish between global and local: The virus will not necessarily take the same course in the U.S. as it has in other countries. It’s important to think critically about the information provided and not jump to conclusions.
- Ask someone for help: If you feel you need separation from the news, have a friend or loved one filter the news for you, and give you updates based on a reasonable assessment of what’s relevant to you.
Learn about coronavirus preventative and precautionary measures from reliable sources such as the CDC. Make a plan for your household needs —a shopping list, a pharmacy list. It may also help to develop an emergency plan, especially for elderly members of the family.
Stay Connected Stay connected with friends and family by Skype, Facetime, email, messenger and text, especially those who may be isolated. Be ready to listen to their concerns and share yours. Learn effective listening skills to help your friends and loved ones.
Reflective listening is an excellent communication technique, where you listen to what a person is saying and repeat it back to them. You may help validate their concerns, and show them you understand their concerns, which can help put them at ease. Talking to another person about worries and fears can help, and just knowing that others share them can validate your own fears and worries.
Social connectedness is critically important to warding off loneliness and resulting depression. See the full blog post for suggestions at https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/March-2020/Coronavirus-Mental-Health-Coping-Strategies.
Take Care Of Yourself
It’s essential to make your health a priority during this time. The critical self-care activities are sleep, physical exercise and a healthy diet. Find ways to address forms of stress, such as journaling, going for walks or calling a loved one. Maintaining a sense of normality and routine can also reduce stress.
Find Things To Do/Distractions
Activities that distract you from current events can be helpful. Here are a few ideas:
- Household chores, such as spring cleaning, will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment when completed.
- Free online university courses and courses through cousera, such as Yale University’s most popular class ever: The Science of Well-Being. They offer a great learning opportunity.
- Movies are moving from theaters to online. Netflix is also a good option.
- TV programming has expanded during the crisis, particularly through streaming services like Netflix. You can also currently stream the Met Opera for free. The NFL and NBA are also offering complementary access to online streaming platforms.
- Virtual parishes, which the Pope and other faith leaders are offering, can help maintain religious connections.
The helper principle shows that helping others is also a benefit to the helper. In hard-hit Europe and other impacted communities, people are helping those self-isolating by shopping or running errands for them. Perhaps you can help a family or neighbor in the same way.
Excerpted from NAMI Montgomery County PA and American Psychological Association
- Limit your news intake. Choose a single news source and decide how much limited time you’ll spend with it each day. Then stick to your plan.
- Keep connected. Keep in touch with friends and family by talking on the phone, using Zoom, Face Time or other web-based platforms, texting, etc.
- Look to the past. Get hope from your past resilience. You have likely endured other unforeseen major life disrupters like 9/11, major hurricanes, or the financial meltdown of 2008. You made it through! And you are stronger because of it. Know that you will get through this. Remind yourself of your resilience on a regular basis.
- Look after your neighbors. You may be at low risk of severe consequences from the virus, but it may not be the same for your neighbors whose immune systems are compromised. The act of checking in on them (keeping six feet apart, of course) will not only make them feel good, it will make you feel good and remind you that there are others for whom this predicament is even more stressful.
- Take advantage of found time. Spend time on projects/activities around the house you never get to; clean a closet, play board games, build a puzzle.
- Practice random acts of kindness. Your kindness doesn’t require a monetary outlay. Write an unsolicited review for a favorite business. Comment on a colleague’s LinkedIn post. Mail a note of appreciation to a friend or colleague. Thank the custodians in your building or workplace for their efforts to keep things safe. Think of those who could benefit from your thoughtfulness and generosity. Then act.
- Take a daily inventory. Close your day, every day, with a positive acknowledgement of something you accomplished, learned or are grateful for. It will help dilute some of the negativity you’ve absorbed and remind you that not everything that’s happening right now is bad or depressing.
In times of constant negative messaging, you need an antidote so that you can keep your positive attitude. Be deliberate in activities that are positive, heartwarming, stress reducing and laughter inducing (see our suggested diversions)! Together, we’ll get through this.
Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior was online for a special chat about maintaining your mental health during the outbreak. View the Chat Transcript: Ways to maintain your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak at https://live.washingtonpost.com/baggage-check-live-coronavirus-mental-health.html.
- The Philadelphia Zoo is online live streaming with zookeepers every day at 2:00 p.m.; go to the zoo’s Facebook page at 2:00 every day https://www.facebook.com/philadelphiazoo/.
- The Franklin Institute’s #SparkofScience series showcases talented science interpreters sharing their favorite science experiments—some you can even do at home! https://www.fi.edu/sparkofscience
- You can visit some landmarks around the world for virtual tours online. Guggenheim Museum, Yosemite National Park, The Louvre, the Van Gogh Museum, the Great Wall of China, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Yellowstone National Park, MoMA, the San Diego Zoo, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Opera House. https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/03/18/these-historic-sites-attractions-are-offering-virtual-tours-during-coronavirus-pandemic/
- Common Sense Media has prepared a list of free online activities and events for children during Coronavirus shutdowns at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/free-online-events-activities-kids-at-home-coronavirus.
- Paris Museums Put 100,000 Images Online for Unrestricted Public Use at https://kottke.org/20/01/paris-museums-put-100000-images-online-for-unrestricted-public-use.
- You can visit 6 Beautiful Italian Museums for free online at https://anamericaninrome.com/wp/2020/03/italy-museums-visit-for-free-online/
- The Berlin Philharmonic is offering their Digital Conference Hall to everyone for free at https://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/titelgeschichten/20192020/digital-concert-hall/
- The Met launches “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure https://www.metopera.org/about/press-releases/met-launches-nightly-met-opera-streams-a-free-series-of-encore-live-in-hd-presentations-streamed-on-the-company-website-during-the-coronavirus-closure/
- Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed at https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
- Watch a funny video. Thanks to the huge popularity of YouTube, there are thousands of videos that can help you take your mind off current events, if only for three minutes at a time.
- Steel Smiling launches free virtual mental health program on Facebook on Wednesdays during COVID-19 outbreak, where health and wellness professionals will facilitate experiences on mindfulness, yoga, and other wellness-related activities. See https://www.facebook.com/SteelSmilingPGH/.