I’m having a lot of anxiety because of the coronavirus. Please help.

It’s hard to sift through the messages and information coming at us. Worse, the

“unknown unknown” (not knowing what you don’t even know) can cause even greater

anxiety for those of us who are panic-prone.

What you can do

  1. Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a

person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more

than, understanding the virus! Poor lung health caused by smoking, lack of

adequate health care, suppressed immune systems, and/or populations

particularly susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the elderly, have

been particularly affected by COVID-19.

  1. Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Look beyond rhetoric and arm

yourself with information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread,

severity, risk assessment, etc. To subscribe to the CDC’s email and text

message service, visit CDC Subscription Service.

  1. Get your emotional support system in place:
  • Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible; take

care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies:

rest during work or between shifts, eat healthy food and engage in

physical activity.

  • Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks:

o Have the emails and phone numbers of close friends and family

at your fingertips.

o Stay connected via email, social media, video conference and


  • Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and

support to people experiencing emotional distress related to

natural or human-caused disasters.

  • Have the number of several Warmlines (emotional support

hotlines) at your fingertips.

  • Call the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through

Friday, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST for mental health


NAMI HelpLine

Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST

(800) 950-6264

  • National Mental Health Consumer’s Self-Help Clearinghouse is a

nationwide directory to locate local consumer-driven mental health

services, including resources such as Clubhouses, crisis

prevention/respite services, drop-in Centers, employment resources,

housing, peer case management and support. The website

maintains search function for directory of local CDS (consumerdriven services).

  1. Take control and incorporate preventative measures
  • Wash your hands. See the CDC’s list of preventative measures.
  • Avoid watching, reading or listening to news reports that cause you

to feel anxious or distressed. A near-constant stream of news

reports can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Instead,

seek CDC updates and practical guidelines at specific times during

the day.

  • Be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can

benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.

I’m quarantined or working from home – lonely and isolated even further –

what can I do?

What you can do while working from home

  • To help overcome uncertainty, normality and routine that mirrors life’s daily

patterns and practices can be helpful. If working from home, we encourage

you to create a structured, dedicated work environment and build in self-care

as well as daily benchmarks of achievement.

  • Structure and routine may be helpful for people with mental health

vulnerabilities, especially during times of uncertainty. We encourage you to

maintain a regular routine with the work hours that are usually worked,

including keeping up with morning rituals. Dressing in regular work attire

and taking regular breaks, including lunch time, may also be helpful.

  • Research tells us that seven percent of communication is accomplished

through our words, including email. 38 percent is voice and a staggering 55

percent is body language and visual. For people with mental health

vulnerabilities, and even for those with extroverted personalities, the lack of

face time can be challenging. Using technology to simulate this can offer a

solution to bridging this gap. Be mindful of opportunities to integrate video into

your conversations with colleagues. Consider using the video function on

Skype or Teams for internal and external meetings.

NAMI HelpLine

Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST

(800) 950-6264

What you can do to get support

Also, there are numerous online support communities and emotional support

hotlines to help you if you are quarantined:

Building Resilience

o Visit the CDC’s page on Stigma and Resilience that discusses

COVID-19’s impact on mental health, and how we can reject

stigma and build resilience during this time.

o American Psychological Association offers an excellent online

resource called the “Road to Resilience,” a step-by-step guide

that helps individuals develop a personal strategy for enhancing


Finding Phone Support

A warmline is a confidential, non-crisis emotional support telephone hotline

staffed by peer volunteers who are in recovery. Callers will find an empathetic

listener to talk through their feelings. To find a warmline that serves your area,

visit the NAMI HelpLine Warmline Directory on the NAMI Resource Library page.

Finding Online Support Communities

o NAMI hosts online communities where people exchange support

and encouragement. These Discussion Groups can easily be joined

by visiting

o 7 Cups:

 Free online text chat with a trained listener for emotional support

and counseling. Also offers fee- for-service online therapy with a

licensed mental health professional. Service/website also offered in


o Emotions Anonymous:

 An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better

sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in person and

online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with

600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be

a complement to therapy.

o Support Group Central:

 Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health

conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.

NAMI HelpLine

Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST

(800) 950-6264

o TheTribe Wellness Community:

 Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental

health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to

connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression,

HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.


 Website featuring 200+ online support groups.

o For Like Minds:

 Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to

connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with

mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life


o 18percent:

 Offers a free, peer-to-peer online support community for

those struggling with a wide range of mental health issues.

o Psych Central:

 Offers online mental health resources, quizzes, news, an

“Ask the Therapist” function, and online support


I don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor – how can I get care?

Having health insurance is essential for people with mental health conditions to get

the right care at the right time. We recommend you buy safely by going to to see if you qualify for affordable options:

  • All health plans offered through must cover mental health and

substance use services at the same level as other health conditions.

  • Even if open enrollment is over for the year, will see if you can

enroll in commercial insurance because of certain qualifications. It will also see if

you qualify for Medicaid, which you can enroll in at any time.

When evaluating health plan options, consider these four things:

  • Affordability. Compare not only monthly premiums, but also deductibles, co-pays

and/or co-insurance, which affect your costs if you use services;

  • Availability of health professionals. Check to see if your mental health

professional(s) and other health care providers are in a health plan’s network. If

they are not, find out if the insurance plan will pay for out-of-network providers—

and how much they will cover;

  • Coverage of prescription medications. Find a plan that covers any medication(s)

you need to maintain your wellness; and

NAMI HelpLine

Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST

(800) 950-6264

  • Limits on mental health office visits. Check to see if a plan has limits on office

visits. Also consider differences in inpatient and outpatient coverage.

If you can’t get insurance or need treatment right away:

In an emergency, all emergency departments that participate in Medicare (which is most

hospitals in the United States) must see you, regardless of your ability to pay.

Federally funded health centers provide care regardless of insurance coverage or

income. Many of these centers include mental health services. Find a federally funded

health center near you at

National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics at offers a

Find A Clinic function on its website.

For resources on medical/non-mental health (children’s health care, dental care, eye

care, women’s health), the Free Clinic Directory at offers a

free clinic treatment locater by zip code. and allow you to conduct a zip-code-based search

for local resources including affordable medical and mental health clinics, housing, food,

heating assistance, etc. In many places, you can also dial 211 from your phone to access

information on local resources.

What if I’m quarantined and can’t get my medication? Will there be a shortage?

You can ask your health care provider about getting a 90-day supply vs. a 60- or

30-day supply. If this is not possible, or if health care providers deny/decline

making accommodations, challenge the decisions at least three times. Decision- makers on making health plan adjustments may change if/as conditions worsen.

Keep in mind that many cold/flu medications should not be taken along with

antipsychotics and/or antidepressants. Please consult your pharmacist or

prescribing health care professional for any potential medication