NAMI Maine's Response to COVID-19

Image: Portland Headlight Text: Mental Health & COVID-19

  NAMI Maine's Programs - General Mental Health Tips  -  Mental Health & Working Remotely -  Mental Health for Young People and Students - Preventative Steps

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 both 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.

NAMI Maine is here for you throughout this challenging time. Below are updates on our programs and information on how to care for your mental health throughout COVID-19.


NAMI Maine's Programs

Provider Match Program
In addition to our regular HelpLine services, NAMI Maine is looking to virtually connect volunteer mental health providers to individuals in need of support for brief (15-30 minute) one-time check-ins. If you are a mental health provider interested in volunteering your time to assist people in need during the COVID-19 crisis please click here. If you are an individual interested in receiving this support please contact the NAMI Maine Helpline at (800) 464-5767 Press “1” or helpline@namimaine.org.


NAMI Maine's HelpLine
While our office is currently closed to walk-ins, the HelpLine can be reached at: 800-464-5767, press 1 or helpline@namimaine.org Monday - Friday from 8am - 4pm. Please note that the HelpLine is NOT a crisis line. If you believe that you or someone you know could be in crisis, please do not hesitate to call the statewide crisis line at (888) 568-1112.

Waterville Peer Recovery Center
While NAMI Maine's Waterville Peer Recovery Center's doors are currently closed, we are offering programming and support digitally and via the phone. For updates on how to join groups, visit the Waterville Peer Recovery Center’s Facebook page. Peer Center groups will continue to operate digitally on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the foreseeable future, and print resources such as workbooks and guides are still available upon request. 


Peer Center Coordinator Buffy Johnson and Peer Support Specialist Ian Roig can be contacted for support at 
peercenter@namimaine.org the Peer Center phone line at (207) 859-2667, and via the Waterville Peer Recovery Center’s Facebook page.

 

NAMI Maine's Family Respite
The Family Respite program remains operational and has expanded access to services during this time, and has created an emergency enrollment process for families to expedite applications as well the option to provide virtual respite via video conferencing. Staring immediately, there is a shortened application process to enroll children in the program, and also to be hired as a respite provider. The Respite Program will now provide families with 26 hours per month of in-home support now through June 30th, 2020. Individuals, including family members who do not reside in the same home as the child, who are interested in being hired to provide respite services to children in their local community may complete an application form found here.

For more info on respite services, contact us at respite@namimaine.org, (800) 464-5767, ext. 2314 or click here.

 

NAMI Maine's Support Groups
Many of our groups are still active at this time via Zoom and you can also join digital support groups on our Facebook page! For details on our remote support groups, click here.

Family-to-Family Classes
Many of our classes are operating remotely via Zoom and some have been postponed. Click here for more info.

Social Media
Follow NAMI Maine on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for program updates, mental health tips, positivity and connection! We'll be hosting Facebook live videos weekdays at 2pm with our staff to help answer questions and provide support as we strive to stay connected and mentally healthy during this time.


NAMI Maine Staff
While practicing social distancing through working remotely, the NAMI Maine staff is still available to you five days a week via our office phone lines, email, and digital meetings. To connect with a staff member, visit our staff directory for their contact information. If you're unsure of who to contact, reach out to us at info@namimaine.org. We are glad to assist you!

 

Conferences and Trainings
Due to COVID-19, NAMI Maine has postponed some trainings and upcoming large events. based on Govenor Mill's recommendations and the policies of our partner organizations. We are very grateful to our partners at the Augusta Civic Center and the Senator Inn & Spa for helping to make this possible. Please visit our upcoming events page for more details. If you have questions about the status of upcoming trainings or events with NAMI Maine, please contact the appropriate event coordinator.


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 and hydrate! 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.

 

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. For more suggested apps, podcasts, and videos to boost mental health for kids, click here.

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 and activities here!

 

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.org Check out Govenor Mill's specific recommendations  to help manage COVID-19 in Maine.