April 1, 2020

Coronavirus Tips For People With Mental Illness

No one is untouched by the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation. If your life is complicated by illness and/or the “underlying physical conditions that put you at risk” the stress is even greater.

Here are some tips to get through this time with the least amount of emotional disruption.

Getting the facts keeps perspective.

  • The vast majority of people who get the virus will have no need of acute medical intervention. Some 80% of people will have no need of more than at-home care over a few days of low fever and upper respiratory symptoms. Young people show a low rate of infection and a lower still rate of serious complications.

Practice safe self-care.

  • Understand the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19. People with poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and older individuals, have been particularly affected by COVID-19.
  • If you are at increased risk, practice social distancing and wash your hands often.
  • Keep a distance of 6 feet from others when possible.

Take control and incorporate preventive measures.

  • Wash your hands. See the CDC’s list of preventative measures.
  • Avoid binge watching the news, which can increase anxiety with little benefit. Stay informed, but don’t give into panic.
  • Help support others with encouraging calls, emails and posts. Helping others is great therapy.

Put things in perspective.

Get your emotional support system in place.

  • Maintain your daily routines as much as you can; take care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies.
  • Stay rested, eat healthy foods and be physically active with walks and other exercise which keep social distance.
  • Stay connected with friends, family and social networks. Stay connected via email, social media, video conference and telephone.
  • Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985-5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Call the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Central Time for mental health resources.

Contact local support programs.

2100 East Drive St. Louis, MO
Telephone #: (314) 994-1542
Program Category: Support Group, Other

BRIDGES (Building Recovery of Dreams and Goals through Education and Support)
1905 S. Grand Blvd St. Louis, MO
Telephone #: 314-773-1399
Program Category: Peer Support, Recovery Education

Express Yourself Experience
4055 Laclede Ave Suite 217 St. Louis, MO
Telephone #: 314-630-3463
Email: ExperienceYours@AOL.Com
Program Category: Advocacy, Recovery Education, Recreation/Arts

The Hope Center
1701 S. Campbell Springfield, MO
Telephone #: 417-864-7119
Program Category: Drop-in Center, Peer Support

NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Program
1101 Hauck Drive Rolla, MO
Telephone #: 573-426-6264/(573)674-255
Program Category: Community Education, Recovery


Find Online Support Communities.

Warmlines: A series of free volunteer peer support networks that provide an empathetic person to talk to in Missouri. Call 800-374-2138 or visit their website.

7 Cups: Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support and counseling. Also offers fee-for-service online therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in Spanish. Visit their website

Emotions Anonymous: An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and cannot be a complement to therapy. Explore

Support Group Central: Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish at

The Tribe Wellness Community: Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics; a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens. Website featuring 200+ online support groups, visit

For Like Minds: Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life events. Visit their site at

1 8percent: Offers a free, peer-to-peer online support community for those struggling with a wide range of mental health issues. Explore

In this time of crisis, know that there are people who care, that you are not forgotten, and that social distance does not mean social isolation.


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