Information You Need: Mental Health during a Pandemic

Mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse are on the rise in Arizona and throughout the United States. According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April, roughly half (45%) of Americans reported that the pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health. David Sbarra, a University of Arizona psychologist, answered questions on how the pandemic may be impacting mental health. Visit this link for more information. 

A pandemic presents us all with many unknowns and uncertainty. Further, isolation, trauma, and other stressors (e.g., financial) associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can be harmful to mental health and overall wellbeing.  Prioritizing mental health is always important, but is especially crucial under the current circumstances with many people experiencing grief at the loss of community, employment, or other significant life changes. Remember to check on yourself, your family, and friends as we all try to navigate these unprecedented times together. 

It is important to remember that stress due to the pandemic continues to affect people in different ways and to varying degrees. Groups that are more vulnerable to stress during a crisis include: 

  • Essential workers (including frontline health workers)
  • Children and young adults
  • Those belonging to certain racial and ethnic minority groups
  • People with existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders 
  • People with underlying medical conditions
  • Socially isolated individuals (including those who live alone)
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Those experiencing changes in employment
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Individuals living in group settings
  • People lacking access to information in their primary language
  • Those without access to healthcare or health services

Be sure to also watch for mental health warning signs in yourself and others. These can include excessive worrying or fear, feeling sad or low, and recent changes in habits or behaviors (sleeping, eating, socializing, mood). For more mental health warning signs, please visit this link.

Below are resources for addressing mental health concerns:

  • If you feel that you or another person is in immediate danger because of their mental distress, call 911. 
  • In March, Arizona launched a 2-1-1 hotline to provide statewide COVID-19 counseling.
Crisis / Disaster
Aurora Behavioral Health: Call at 877-870-7012

Resilient Arizona: Call 2-1-1- for COVID-19 crisis counseling

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

Be Connected (Veterans): Call 1-866-4AZ-VETS (429-8387)
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255

Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
Abuse and Assault
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence: Call 602-279-2980

Arizona Child Abuse Hotline: Call 1-888-SOS-CHILD (767-2445)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat
Children and Young Adults
Teen Lifeline: Call or text 602-248-TEEN (8336)
Helping Children Cope during an COVID-19 Outbreak

Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
Teen Depression
Mercy Care (Maricopa County): Call 1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444

Complete Health (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruiz, and Yuma counties): Call 1-866-495-6735

Health Choice Arizona (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai counties): Call 1-877-756-4090
Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities: Call 1-800-259-3449
Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian communities: Call 1-855-331-6432
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat 

SAMHSA Suicide Prevention

Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Five Action Steps for Communicating with Someone Who May Be Suicidal
Substance Use Disorder
Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline: Call (866) 857-5777

Arizona Addiction Recovery Center: Call (602) 346-9130
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 

Treatment Services Locator Website 

Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers
High Risk Groups
COVID-19 Hotline: Call 2-1-1
Serious Illness Care Program COVID-19 Response Toolkit

Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emergency Responders: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Disaster Technical Assistance Center (SAMHSA)

Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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