Mental Health in the Time of the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 25, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event unlike anything else in our lifetime. It has shifted our idea of what ‘normal’ life is, upending our routines and forcing us to socially distance ourselves from loved ones. Feeling anxious, confused, vulnerable, overwhelmed or powerless is completely normal – especially when you don’t know what lies ahead.


Whether you’ve experienced these feelings before or they’ve developed due to recent events, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings and reach out for help if you find it too much to bear on your own. Developing a structure or routine to do things that help maintain our physical, mental, spiritual and social health is a great way to help you feel grounded, connected and alive while practicing social distancing.


Here are some suggested activities to support each key aspect of your health and well-being:


 If you are still experiencing emotional distress and do not know where to turn, use these resources to seek help:


  • The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, “HABLAR” to the same number: 5-5-2-0-2-0.

Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous. Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support. Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how navigate and access supports and services.


  • SAMHSA’s national Disaster Distress Helpline is available to anyone experiencing emotional distress related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Call 1.800.985.5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a caring counselor.


  • Suicide Prevention Hotline. Call 1.800.273.8255 for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
    • If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or experience hearing loss, call 1.800.799.4889.
    • If you need to speak to a Spanish-speaking counselor, call 1.888.628.9454.

Additional resources: