Mental Health Resources for Families during the Coronavirus Outbreak
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has interrupted Louisiana families’ daily lives in many ways. Many of us may feel overwhelmed by the “new normal” required of us. We are dealing with new childcare demands and uncertainty or fears about our health, money, and social interactions. Adults and children of all ages may be feeling stressed and worried. Young children may express their worries in ways that look different from older children or adults. For example, they may throw tantrums, become very clingy, or have trouble sleeping. Parents and other caregivers can help their children manage their feelings and the way they behave – having resources for themselves and their children can make that easier.
The following resources can help pregnant people, parents and caregivers, and families with babies and young children use healthy coping strategies to handle stress. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of resources.
Are you dealing with stress, depression or anxiety? Are you unsure how to explain what’s happening to your kids? These resources can help:
- Keep Calm through COVID Hotline: This free phone line from the Office of Behavioral Health provides trained, compassionate counselors to support Louisianans through this difficult time. Counselors are available 24/7 and can link callers to mental health and substance abuse counseling services. Call 1-866-310-7977.
- Postpartum Support International / Postpartum.net: Provides parents experiencing depression and anxiety with information and support. It also helps connect them to local mental health providers. Visit their website, call the helpline at 800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453 (English) or 971-420-0294 (Español).
- ZeroToThree.org has tips to help families with young children handle the current changes, including a guide to self care and tips for how to explain the outbreak to kids.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network created a handout with information to help families cope. It includes a breakdown of how children may respond differently to an outbreak depending on their age, and gives tips for how to support them. More resources are also available at NCTSN.org.
- Need to find a mental health provider for yourself or your children?
- Call the number on the back of your insurance card to find a local provider who is covered by your insurance.
- Use the Center for Evidence to Practice’s online interactive map to locate a Medicaid provider in Louisiana who is trained to help young children: LaEvidenceToPractice.com.
- Contact your local human services district for crisis counseling and local mental health resources.
- There are many apps and websites to help adults and children manage stress. Find what works best for you and the people you care for.
- For older children and adults, Vibrant.org/SafeSpace is one option for free apps and websites for emotional health. Resources are organized by what people need in the moment: connection, coping tools, or distraction.
- For young children, the Sesame Street in Communities website is one option for kid-friendly activities, songs, stories, and games, plus resources to help families practice healthy habits and self-care.
Following physical distancing guidelines is extremely important. It also means that families may have bored or restless kids at home. The resources below offer tips for activities to do with young children that promote learning & brain development:
- Louisiana Believes: Resource page with a list of school meal sites, and a toolkit parents and caregivers can use to promote their kids’ learning at home.
- Vroom: Brain-building tips for everyday interactions with your little ones. Download the app for daily, age-appropriate tips.
- Save the Children: Resources and tips for families to help them promote learning while keeping kids busy.
- Council4Children.org: Fun activities for kids that can also help them manage their feelings (from the Louisiana Council for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).
In case of emergency or if you need immediate help, call 911. These national hotlines also provide help in a crisis:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522 or visit TheHotline.org
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990
In non-emergency situations, these numbers can help:
- Call 211 to be connected to mental health crisis counseling, non-emergency medical care, local information related to the coronavirus, and referrals to community services.
- Keep Calm Through COVID Hotline: Call 1-866-310-7977
- Compulsive Gambling Hotline: Call 1-877-770-7867
- Alcohol / Drug Helpline: Call 1-877-664-2248
- Crisis Counselor: Call 1-866-310-7977
Resources for healthcare providers treating pregnant and postpartum women:
- The Louisiana Mental Health Perinatal Partnership (LAMHPP) offers consultation and training on mental health matters to licensed healthcare clinicians serving pregnant and postpartum women and their families, including OB-GYNs, Family Physicians, Pediatricians, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and others. Visit lamhpp.org to find out how LAMHPP can help you support your patients during this time.
Please note: this is not a list of every resource available. Also, specific handouts or tips may change, and new resources will likely be created to help families during this stressful time. We recommend checking the websites listed here from time to time to find the latest resources and information.May 7, 2020