Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with the COVID-19 pandemic this year it’s even more important to take care of our own mental health and support those around us. For many, the pandemic has meant worry about their health, their community, those most at risk and the future, as well as, financial and employment concerns while at the same time feeling isolated with social distancing keeping friends and families apart.
Minnesota Department of Health website has recognized challenges and added a variety of mental health resources on their COVID-19 response link. The page offers Minnesotans resources of where to call for safe, anonymous support and how to reach a crisis counselor in your area. Some additional resources available include:
• Peer Support Connection Warmline: Call or text 844-739-6369 between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.
• CRISIS: Call **CRISIS (274747) from a cell phone to talk to professionals who can help.
• Crisis Text Line: Text “MN” to 741 741
• Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline
A service of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture: Call 833-600-2670
• Crisis Line and Referral Service 24/7: 800-462-5525
• Todd County Health and Human Services: 320-732-4500
Locally, the Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiatives Website (www.region5mentalhealth.com) has additional information including local mental health support resources.
With support of the Region V+ AMHI, Wellness in the Woods has created the Virtual Peer Support Network, which are Zoom meetings that promote mental wellness and community for people living with mental health challenges. Each meeting is hosted by a peer specialist with similar life experiences.
The Virtual Peer Support Network is available every day from 10 am to 4 pm. There are scheduled spots for residents in each county from 10 am to 2 pm, and then it is open to all counties in MN from 2 pm to 4 pm. To access the virtual meetings, use the link: https://zoom.us/join and join with Zoom ID# 592-347-390, or call 646-558-8656 to join by phone. Use the link below for more instructions on joining a Zoom meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting
You will soon be seeing yard signs, posters, and business cards placed throughout the community with contact information for the Warmline, Crisis Line, Crisis Text Line, and Region V+ website information to promote use by community members who need it.
Your local mental health providers want to remind you that they are still here to serve you during this time as well, although some of their services have switched to telephonic or virtual means.
Northern Pines Mental Health Center is still serving and taking referrals for all of their services. Visit www.npmh.org for more information and the referral form or phone the Northern Pines Call Center at 320-639-2025. Adjustment issues are common when changes occur for adults, couples, children and families. Therapy and Skills Sessions make a difference coping with the stresses of the pandemic including; but not limited to: job loss, parenting, anxiety and depression.
Northern Pines also has an online training opportunity for individual community members and organizations to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation and interventions. The training is called Question, Persuade, and Refer, or QPR. They are holding the trainings every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month of May. To register, email Destiny Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nystrom’s and Associates is still providing services to those in need in our community. They are open and accepting new patients/intakes, although they have transitioned to Tele-health for services during the Covid-19 Crisis. They also have a number of online video resources to help get through these trying times on their website at https://www.nystromcounseling.com/nal-media/ and on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nystromcounseling.
Lakewood Health System offers clinical behavioral health services for people of all ages to address personal, emotional, relationship and life problems. Treatment options may include medication management and/or clinical therapy services. If you have behavioral health symptoms that are negatively affecting your quality of life, their behavioral health services can give tools and resources needed to cope with situations, build positive behaviors and develop emotionally-healthy outlooks. A Lakewood Clinic Behavioral Health Coordinator can be contacted at 218-894-8852.
Lending Hands Community Services offers psychotherapy, diagnostic assessments, family mediation, custody evaluations, parenting coordination, parenting time expediting, and parent education. They are currently using telehealth to visit with clients. To set up appointments, call 320-630-9498.
LifeSteps Counseling is currently open and seeing patients in person. They are not offering telehealth. They accept most health insurances including Medicare and several EAP providers and provide therapy to children, adolescents, adults, and couples. They are also continuing to offer Domestic Abuse Group for male offenders. To reach them to schedule an appointment call 320-732-3344 or look use their website at http://www.lifestepscounselingmn.com
Meanwhile, everyone may benefit from taking some simple steps to help cope in this time of stress:
• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media
• Take deep breaths and stretch
• Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
• Exercise regularly
• Get plenty of sleep
• Avoid alcohol and drugs
• Make time to unwind
• Connect with others while maintaining social distancing.