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Mental Toughness: How to thrive in the midst of COVID-19

Welcome to our home for COVID-19 mental health resources. We believe it is possible to thrive in the midst of this volatility and uncertainty. Over the next few days, we’ll be scouring the internet and compiling a list of the best resources and information to help you manage your mental health in the midst of this pandemic.

Telemental Health

Telemental health is just as effective as in-person therapy. You can see the research for yourself here and here. If you have a therapist, you might try reaching out and seeing if they offer telemental health services. Having offered telemental health for years, we know that it can sometimes feel a bit different at first. However, its effectiveness is hard to argue with.

The CDC recommends that people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. When things get hectic, we can sometimes be tempted to take a break from therapy. In reality, that’s usually the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

If you’re looking for a therapist for the first time, you can click here to reach out to us. You can also find an excellent list of providers on sites like Psychology Today.

Websites to Check Out

CDC: Recommendations for mental health and coping during COVID-19

This page, compiled by the CDC, has an excellent list of practical recommendations for individuals, parents, and first responders. There’s also a section specifically written for individuals who have recently been released from quarantine.

The CDC knows a thing or two about managing crises like the one we are currently facing. It’s no surprise that this is one of the best sites on the internet for practical tips on how to manage your mental health during this time. The parent section is particularly good. If you’re only going to look at one site, make it this one.

Mental Health America: Information & Resources

This is the best curated list of resources available for managing anxiety we have seen. After looking at this list, we realized it was completely unnecessary for us to try and assemble a list of our own. Whereas the CDC site above focuses more on practical tips, this page focuses more on curating a list of more in-depth resources that are available.

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

If you are a first responder, healthcare worker, or caregiver of any kind, please read through this page. Compassion fatigue, also referred to as “secondary traumatization” is a real thing. If left untreated, it can take a real toll on both your physical and mental health.

The Best of the Rest

There’s a bit of an 80/20 rule at play when it comes to the sites above and the information available on the internet right now. If you check out all three sites above, you’ll be hard pressed to find any additional information with more searching. That being said, there are a few additional websites and resources out there that we’ve found helpful during our search. We’ll keep a running list of them here:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Managing stress associated with the COVID-19 outbreak
Excellent site from the VA on how to manage stress; from the National Center for PTSD, perhaps the most knowledgable people on the planet when it comes to traumatic stress.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak: Includes links to some resources not included on the MHA site above.

Mindfulness Resources
There is a growing body of research that provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of meditation exercises in managing anxiety and distress. There are thousands of providers out there. Here are the four that we are most familiar with and feel most comfortable recommending:

  • Headspace: One of the best known names, for good reason. They are currently offering several forms of free access, especially to healthcare workers.
  • Calm
  • Smiling Mind: Originally programmed for kids, so the kid-friendly packs are a bit more robust than the other options listed above. Has the added benefit of being free, with costs being covered by grants and sponsors. By far the best free option we’ve come across.
  • Ten Percent Happier: A good option for the meditation-skeptic. Especially the book by the same name.

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