NAMI Maine's Response to COVID-19

General Mental Health Tips - Preventative StepsNAMI Maine's ProgramsMental Health & Working Remotely - Mental Health for Young People and Students


A Message from NAMI Maine

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has had a global reach and is impacting both the physical and mental health of Mainers. We know that fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children, as well as exacerbate existing stressors and mental health concerns. It is important to take care of yourself emotionally during this time of turmoil. Click here for more information regarding mental health and COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

General Mental Health Tips

  • Take a break from social media and the news. It's important to stay informed, but if the constant updates and stories are causing you stress, it's okay to turn off the phone or television so you can relax.
  • Get enough sleep. This is an important step towards preventing any illness. 
  • Eat healthy! A well-balanced diet is a vital aspect of physical and mental health.
  • Practice mindfulness. Spend some time breathing or meditating. Mindfulness techniques can help us recognize negative thought patterns, such as catastrophizing, which might be exacerbated due to COVID-19. Here are a few simple exercises and apps that can help.
  • Move and get some exercise. Even getting outside and taking a quick walk can benefit your mental health. 
  • Check in with your loved ones, near and far. If you're concerned about spreading COVID-19 or being exposed to it, consider calling, texting, or video chatting rather than meeting up in person. 
  • Check in with a mental health professional. If you are seeing a counselor or therapist, consider bringing up how you are feeling about COVID-19 during your regular session. You can also give the NAMI Maine HelpLine a call at 800-464-5767, ext. 1, or the Maine Warm Line a call at 1-866-771-WARM (9276). If you or a loved one are in crisis, call the State Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112.

 

Preventative Steps

Many practices that you would take into account to avoid the flu or a regular cold apply to preventing COVID-19. 

  • Wash your hands, especially when you come home from work, interacting with other folks or running errands. Use plenty of soap and water and be sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds. It can be helpful to hum songs like "Happy Birthday" to help make sure you're washing for the correct amount of time.
  • Avoid touching your face and sharing products like make-up.
  • Cough into your elbow and use tissues when you have to sneeze.
  • Avoid contact with folks who are sick. If you aren't feeling well, stay home. If you think you might have the coronavirus, call your healthcare provider. They can help field your questions and find a testing facility, if necessary. 
  • Suspend all travel that is non-essential.
  • Stay away from vulnerable people such as the elderly and immunocompromised folks. Of course we want to provide support and love to our family and friends, but consider making a phone call or sending a card to a loved one instead. 
  • Consider social distancing and avoiding crowded public places. As per the Govenor's recommendation, gatherings of 250 attendees are being postponed to minimize the spread of the disease.

For information on the coronavirus and updates on Maine's response to the disease, visit the Maine Center for Disease Control's website. If you have other questions regarding COVID-19, reach out to Maine 211 at 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.orgCheck out Govenor Mill's specific recommendations to help manage COVID-19 in Maine here.


NAMI Maine's Programs

Due to the COVID-19, NAMI Maine has had to postpone some trainings and events based on Govenor Mill's recommendations and the policies of our partner organizations. We have had to postpone our upcoming large events. If you have questions about the status of upcoming trainings or events with NAMI Maine, please contact the appropriate event coordinator. 

NAMI Maine's HelpLine (800-464-5767, press 1 or helpline@namimaine.org) remain available during this time and we hope you will continue to use NAMI Maine as a resource. The Waterville Peer Recovery Center is offering digital peer support at this time, NAMI Maine's Family Respite program remains operational and has expanded during this time, and many of NAMI Maine's support groups and Family-to-Family classes are operating remotely. Connect with your local NAMI Maine affiliate for more information or join into the digital support forums on our Facebook page.

For more information and updates, click here.

 

Mental Health & Working Remotely

Many workplaces and schools are encouraging/mandating that employees work from home as a preventative measure. While this can be a great way to boost productivity and focus for some, it can also feel isolating and employees can miss out on important social interactions that take place in an office or work environment. Here are a few tips on staying mentally well while working from home:

  • Stick to a set work schedule, just as you would normally.
  • Maintain routines such as getting dressed as you would for a typical work day, taking regularly scheduled breaks, etc..
  • Create a dedicated work space in your home that is separate from other activities.
  • Move! Get outside and take a quick walk on your breaks.
  • Find ways to communicate and stay connected to your team, whether through Teams, Slack, Google Chat/Hangouts, etc.. Much of our communication relies on body language, not just text, so having some facetime with your colleagues can be important.
  • Set boundaries—be sure to clock in and clock out as you would when going to and from the office.

 

Mental Health for Young People and Students

“For most of us, having to unexpectedly leave or disengage with our community – even if just for a short time – can be stressful. If you’re feeling that stress, remember that is a natural response. Beyond that, others of us who live with anxiety or other mental illnesses can experience exacerbated symptoms from the added stress.”

— Active Minds

COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into the spring semesters for many students. Check out Active Minds' recommendations on how to help manage the stress of the coronavirus with kids whose learning might be changing venues or being disrupted.

Don’t know how to talk to a child about COVID-19? Check out this resource from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration which includes some great tips for talking with children about infectious disease.

Are you a parent or caregiver looking for activities and educational opportunities at home for your child during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out our suggested resources here!