Virtual Mental Health First Aid Kit for the 2020 Holidays
By Katelynn Alcorn
The Holidays present their own challenges to mental health every year, and we all know very well that this year presents additional challenges. You’re not alone in what you are dealing with, and we all deserve support. Here are online resources for common challenges during the holidays, in addition to COVID-19 mental health challenges.
Before specific resources, here are important numbers if you currently need them, or to keep at hand for you or someone you care about in the future. (U.S. Phone Numbers):
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
Domestic Violence Hotline
First, a section with resources on COVID-19 stress and general mental health.
Continue scrolling for resources on specific topics that are commonly faced during the holidays, including depression/sadness, relationship strain, substance use, anxiousness, grief/loss, and isolation/loneliness. Resources are under specific topics here, but many of these can be helpful for several mental health challenges or overall mental wellness.
COVID-19 Stress and General Mental Health
Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety
Resources for anxiety and your mental health in a global climate of uncertainty.
Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19
A pdf for parents/caregivers on how to protect your family both physically and emotionally during this infectious disease outbreak.
HelpGuide provides empowering, evidence-based information to help yourself and your loved ones find guidance and support during difficult times, including how to cope with the stresses of COVID-19.
Looking After Yourself
This website provides resources to provide information about various mental health challenges (from worry and rumination, health anxiety, self-compassion to tolerating distress, how to manage procrastination) as well as techniques that focus on a cognitive behavioral approach to managing difficulties.
A 60-second meditation tool to help clear your mind.
Grief and Loss
What's Your Grief?
You don’t have to grieve alone. What’s Your Grief is a place for sharing, support, resources, & more.
Wendt Center for Loss and Healing: About Grief
This page discusses common topics surrounding grief, and specifically addresses how the holiday season can be a very emotional time for those who have experienced loss.
This helpful worksheet gives insight into catastrophizing, and how to help correct this anxiety-provoking habit.
Grounding techniques turn attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries, and refocus on the present moment.
Self-help Anxiety Management App
This app aims to help understand and manage anxiety. It offers a range of self-help methods for people who want to learn how to manage their anxiety. This link leads to the apple app store, but it is available through other application platforms as well.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Finding yourself in conflict over the holidays? Conflict is a normal part of relationships. Since relationship conflicts are inevitable, learning to deal with them in a healthy way is crucial.
How to Create Healthy Boundaries
Unhealthy boundaries cause emotional pain that can lead to dependency, depression, anxiety, and even stress-induced physical illness. This resource discusses what healthy boundaries are, and how to create them in your relationships.
Parental Stress Line
This is a 24/7 toll-free helpline for parents offering support, information on resources in your area, someone to talk to, and other parental help and guidance.
Phone number: 1-800-632-8188
Sadness and Depression
Antidepressant Skills Workbook
This book is intended for those struggling with depression or their loved ones who want to help them. It provides more information on depression and scientifically researched depression management techniques.
Antidepressant Skills Workbook for Teens
Like the Antidepressant Skills Workbook, but for teens struggling with depression and their loved ones who may want to help them.
Emotions Anonymous (EA) is a twelve-step program for recovery from mental and emotional illness. They offer online meetings which is a great way to connect and work on healing with others during COVID-19.
Half of Us
Pre-COVID times, half of college students report they have been stressed to a point where they couldn’t function during the past year. I’d imagine that this is even greater for college students over this past year. Half of Us is an organization aimed at students and provides mental health information and how to help you or a friend who is struggling.
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)
A great resource for self care tips and how to find help. TWLOHA is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.
Loneliness and Isolation
How to Stay Connected While Intentionally Isolated during COVID-19
A compilation of resources on the physical, behavioral, and mental health effects of physical distancing and how to stay connected with others while intentionally isolating.
Strong social connections are central to our physical and mental well-being. When people connect, they affect each other's lives. Connect2Affect provides tools, resources and support to help you stay connected. Connect2Affect is aimed toward older adults but is useful for all ages.
Kindness.org is designed to inspire real life action. With kindness, we can make social change, on a larger scale and in our own lives. Practicing kindness is a way to feel connected to others, and kindness.org has its own community to further connect with others.
TheTribe Wellness Community
This is a free, online, wellness support community that offers members a convenient and safe place to connect. You can join the larger conversation on wellness and peer support, or limit your interactions to your core support group(s). This resource is also helpful to connect with others who are battling similar mental health issues as your own.
In The Rooms
In The Rooms is an online addiction recovery community. It is a free recovery tool that offers 130 weekly online meetings for those recovering from addiction and related issues. They embrace multiple pathways to recovery, including all 12 Step, Non-12 Step, wellness and mental health modalities.
Recovery Dharma welcomes anyone who is looking to heal from addiction and addictive behavior. There are various online meetings for different regions across the world.
Virtual Narcotics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous Meetings for remote or isolated addicts from around the world who may be unable to attend local face to face meetings.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Provides NA resources and how to connect to a local or virtual NA meeting.
Phone Number: 818-773-9999
Provides support for family and friends of individuals struggling with substance use, specifically through group meetings that focus on a 12-step program. There are virtual and in person meetings.
Phone Number: 800-477-6291
Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (OIAA)
Provides the OIAA Directory which features 1,000+ online AA meetings worldwide, ranging from video or telephone conferences to email or chat groups in many languages, available 24/7. The OIAA committee is available 24/7 for those searching for help with a drinking problem. Also provides connection to many other online AA resources.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
AA resources and how to connect to a local or virtual AA meeting.
Phone Number: 212-870-3400
Helps family and friends recover from the effects of someone else's drinking through a 12-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings either virtual or in person.