Mental Health Minute

May 8, 2020

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How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing

By Rubina Kapil on March 20, 2020

If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.

This is a stressful time for many. With the government and media sharing updates throughout the day and the fear of the unknown, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. You are not alone.

Millions of people across the country are facing the same worries and challenges that you are. During this time, it is important to remember that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s also important to take care of your mental health.

While practicing physical distancing, there are easy self-care strategies that can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, or prevent anxiety before it even starts.

Use these tips from the MHFA curriculum to take care of your mental health while practicing physical distancing.

  1. Eat healthfully to keep your body in top working order.
  2. Exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, whether we’re working out at home or taking a solo jog around the neighborhood.
  3. Practice relaxation therapy. Focusing on tensing and relaxing muscle groups can help you relax voluntarily when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.
  4. Let light in. For some people, increased exposure to light can improve symptoms of depression. If you can, open the shades and let more sunlight in.
  5. Be kind to yourself! Treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend.
  6. Stay connected. Even if you can’t get together face-to-face, you can stay connected to friends, family and neighbors with phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, reach out to your social support networks. Share what you are feeling and offer to listen to friends or family members about their feelings. We are all experiencing this scary and uncertain time together.
  7. Monitor media consumption. While you might want to stay up-to the minute with COVID-19 news, too much exposure can be overwhelming. Balance media consumption with other activities you enjoy, such as reading, cooking or listening to music.

Self-care doesn’t require you to go outside or spend a lot of money. Adding small changes to your routine can make a big difference to your overall mood and well-being.

Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference and remember to practice self-care with Mental Health First Aid.

Estes Park Community Hot Meals

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Larimer County Resources

What We're Reading

The Pandemic Has Been Hard on Students Like Me. It's Time to Boost Mental Health Support in Schools

What We're Watching

This Father and Daughter Lip-Syncing in the Kitchen to Hold My Hand by Jess Glyne

Monday Mindfullness

Unsurpassed Calm from 2020 Yoga

Recursos en Español - Spanish Resources

Cualquier persona que sea vulnerable a COVID-19 puede pedir ayuda de un vecino voluntario!

Haga clic aquí para más información.

Ayuda a un amigo que lo necesita

Enfermedad del Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Emergency Childcare for COVID-19 First Responders

If you are part of the emergency workforce and are in need of childcare, find out Colorado's response and resources.

Supporting Healthcare Workers AND Local Restaurants

Check out this campaign to support healthcare workers and our restaurants industry by providing meals for medical responders. Donate here!

Check Your Symptoms Online

Not feeling great? You can check your symptoms online using this easy Banner Health tool.

Need Internet for School or Work?

Comcast is currently offering a two-month free internet plan for qualifying families. Find out more details here.

Resources for Everyone!

United Way has compiled a wide array of resources, including how to volunteer during the crisis, resources for older adults, for those experiencing unemployment, food resources, and more. Find out more here.

Self-Isolating in a Dangerous Home Situation?

Please reach out! Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or CHAT online

Food Assistance Available Across the County

Multiple agencies are offering food assistance for those in need. Find out more here.

Crisis Hotlines Remain Open

You can always reach over via text or phone call if you need someone to talk to. Text "TALK" to 38255 or dial 844-493-8255

Call Estes Valley Crisis Advocates at 970-577-978

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Supporting Friends During COVID-19

By Rubina Kapil on April 24, 2020

It’s hard not to see your friends at school or on weekends because of physical distancing. However, you can still stay connected to them while at home with video chats, text messaging, phone calls and social media. You can maintain your friendships and support each other through this difficult time.

While you’re talking to your friends online or on the phone, it’s important that you look for warning signs that may indicate they are really struggling and need help. Pay attention to what they are posting and sharing online. Negative messages, photos, videos, links, comments or hashtags may suggest the person is in emotional distress.

If this is the case, reach out to your friend to ask how they are doing and get them connected to a supportive and responsible adult, if needed.

If you or a friend feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911 or one of the national crisis resources below.

National Crisis Resources

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free 24/7 support. Call 1-888-628-9454 for support in Spanish.
  2. Crisis Text Line: Text “MHFA” to 741741 for free 24/7 crisis counseling.
  3. Lifeline Crisis Chat: Visit to talk online with crisis centers around the United States.
  4. The Trevor Project: Call 866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678 for mental health support specialized for the LGBTQI community.
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Additional Resources for Teens

These online resources are free and may help you and your friends cope with stress and manage your mental health during these uncertain times.

  1. Jed Foundation: Guidance on how to recognize a friend’s emotional distress online and how to get that friend help. Help a Friend in Need: A Guide for Facebook and Instagram.
  2. TeensHealth: A safe place for teens to access honest and accurate information on mental health issues including specific information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and coping with stress. Coronavirus (COVID-19): How You Can Make a Difference, Stress and Coping Center.
  3. National Alliance on Mental Health: Information for teens and young adults about managing mental health and supporting friends. Teens and Mental Health.

It’s important to stay connected with your friends while practicing physical distancing and provide support however you can. There are fun ways to stay connected using technology and simple self-care strategies you can do at home to help manage your mental health.

teen MHFA is expanding and will be available to every school in the country in Fall 2020. Learn more at

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Hannah Knox, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

I am a professional that believes in the empowerment of youth to create meaningful change in this world. The majority of my time is serving Estes students (and families) through direct service, case collaboration, and case management. I support staff through education, consultation, and resource referrals. I also work with community providers for wrap-around support for individual cases, community events, group offerings, and mental health crisis preparation.