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COVID-19 Help: Mental Health, Personal Safety & Wellbeing

Managing Stress During the Pandemic

 

It is normal to be experiencing new feelings of anxiety as a result of this situation. Taking care of your own mental and emotional help is important for staying healthy and being able to care for others. There are many things that you can do to help manage your stress during this time: 

  • Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind with activities you enjoy
  • Remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. 
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Use technology to maintain healthy relationships and connections with friends and family. 
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking. Take note of the good things in your life and name what you are grateful for. 
  • Seek help if you need it. If you are having trouble managing your stress or are feeling overwhelmed by the situation, help is available. These are some resources for finding mental health support during COVID-19:
      • The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has a comprehensive online guide to finding mental health support for a variety of needs. 
      • The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in collaboration with Riverside Trauma Center have developed MassSupport to provide a range of FREE mental health and crisis services to MAssachusetts residents during COVID-19. 
      • The Network of Care Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Behavioral Health Information Hub has compiled information and resources for a wide range of mental health needs during COVID-19 including general mental health, mental health of children, substance use, suicide prevention, housing, food access, and more. This site is regularly updated. 
      • If you already have a mental health provider, check with them to see if they are offering online or phone appointments. There are also a number of online-based counseling services and some insurance plans cover these services. Check with your insurance provider or employer to find out what your benefits cover.

Here are a few resources that might be of help: 

Take care of your body. Virtually connect with others. Take breaks from the news. Make time for fun activities.

 
 

Help for Survivors of Assault

 

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

If you are experiencing physical, emotional, sexual, or other types of abuse, you are not alone. Help is available. Call RESPOND Inc. at 617-623-5900 anytime. RESPOND Inc. is a Somerville-based organization with a 24-hour crisis hotline. They can help address your immediate and long-term needs, by providing counseling, financial resources, information, and referrals.

SafeLink, Massachusetts’ statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline, is also available for anyone affected by domestic or dating violence, and for survivors of sexual assault. This hotline is designed for crisis intervention support for those who need assistance in safety planning measures for both themselves and their families. This resource is available by calling 2-1-1 or directly at 877-785-2020 (TTY: 877-521-2601). Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages. If you are experiencing violence within your home or concerned about a loved one that may be experiencing violence, the SafeLink hotline can provide support and resources.

Can I access help without having to make a phone call?

If making a phone call in your current situation is difficult, there are several text or chat-based support services available.

 
 

Counseling & Helplines

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, or is contemplating suicide or harming others, call 911 immediately.

If you or someone in your family is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) is available 24/7 at 1-800-981-4357. Trained staff can provide support, information, referrals, or arrange an in-person evaluation. BEST provides a comprehensive, highly integrated system of crisis evaluation and treatment services to the greater Boston area under the leadership of Boston Medical Center with support from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership.

If you are feeling sad, lonely, hopeless, or suicidal, Samaritans can help. Call or text their 24/7 helpline any time at 877-870-4673. Services are free and confidential. 

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has a comprehensive online guide to finding mental health support for a variety of needs. If you already have a mental health provider, check with them to see if they are offering online or phone appointments. There are a number of online-based counseling services and some insurance plans cover these services. Some insurance plans may also waive your patient co-pay for behavioral health telemedicine appointments. Check with your insurance provider to find out what your benefits cover.

There are a number of free helplines available 24/7. If you’re looking for support but not sure where to begin, consider contacting Sara Skonieczny, LICSW, in the City’s Department of Health and Human Services, at sskonieczny@somervillema.gov. She can offer guidance and help you navigate these resources. 

  • Suicide Prevention: If you are feeling sad, lonely, hopeless, or suicidal, Samaritans can help. Call or text their 24/7 helpline any time at 877-870-4673. Services are free and confidential. 
  • COVID-19 Counseling: The MassSupport network, offered through Riverside Trauma Center and the MA Department of Mental Health, provides crisis counseling and support around issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Email MassSupport@riversidecc.org or call (888) 215-4920. They can provide services in English and Spanish. More information can be found on their website at www.masssupport.org.
  • Crisis Counseling: Chat with a trained crisis counselor through the Crisis Text Line, which you can reach by texting HOME to 741741. The Crisis Text Line is also available by Facebook Messenger by clicking the “send message” button at www.facebook.com/crisistextline
  • LGBTQ Youth: The Trevor Project operates a 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTA youth. Call the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Youth can also text "Trevor" to 1-202-304-1200 for support, or use the online chat feature on the Trevor Project's website.
  • Substance Use: The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline is a public, statewide service to help connect you or a loved one with substance use treatment and recovery services. Call the helpline at 800-327-5050 M-F 8am-10pm and weekends 8am-6pm. Help is also available online at helplinema.org
  • Pandemic Distress: Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. This is a 24/7, national hotline that offers crisis counseling for emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including disease outbreaks like COVID-19. It is toll-free, multilingual, and confidential.

Many mental health services can be covered by health insurance, including MassHealth. To find a mental health provider in your network, call your insurance provider (typically the number on the back of your health insurance card).

If you do not have health insurance, you can apply online at mahealthconnector.org/

Below is a list of some local mental health providers for adults and youth:

Additional local support programs for youth:

 
 

Access Recovery Services

 

The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline is a public, statewide service to help connect you or a loved one with substance use treatment and recovery services. Call the helpline at 800-327-5050 M-F 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Help is also available online at helplinema.org

If you are currently seeing a healthcare provider or are part of a program, check with them to see if there will be any modifications to how you access services during the COVID-19 emergency.

If a recovery meeting you normally attend has been canceled, there are a number of options available for phone and online meetings. Including:

  • Al-Anon Family Groups has phone and online meetings for anyone affected by alcoholism in a family member or friend.
  • Alateen Chat Meetings are for young people aged 13 to 18 who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. 
  • Allies in Recovery provides online support for families dealing with a loved one’s addiction, using the evidence-based CRAFT method (Community Reinforcement and Family Training ); free for Massachusetts residents.
  • Learn to Cope Online support forum is open to families, friends and loved ones who have someone in their lives who is struggling with addiction. Register for the online forum here

If you have a child who might be struggling with substance use, the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline has resources for parents. You can contact the helpline directly to get help for your child and you, call 800-327-5050.

 

 
 

Programs & Initiatives

The City of Somerville and Somerville Public Schools have partnered with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to address major school building needs, including large-scale renovations and new construction.

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