Mental Health and Substance Misuse Recovery During a Pandemic

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    The current COVID-19 pandemic poses many new challenges to public health professionals. Mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to responding to COVID-19. Special thanks to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) team for compiling the following resources and guidance on supporting your mental health, and the mental health of your community members, during this difficult time.

    Stress and Coping During an Outbreak

    The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

    Resource Lists

    The CDC has compiled a resource page for those experiencing stress, with additional resources for parents, for people at higher risk for serious illness, for responders, and more.

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) has a page dedicated to providing general COVID-19 guidance and resources to assist individuals, providers, communities, and states across the country.


    Oklahomans are resilient, and support is here for you from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. View the Oklahoma-specific comprehensive resource guide from ODMHSAS with resources for parents, children, teens, adults and providers.

    Oklahoma Systems of Care has created this extensive list of recovery support resources for parents and caregivers of children and youth to share with your communities. Systems of Care is a comprehensive spectrum of mental health and other support services that are organized into coordinated networks to meet the multiple and changing needs of children, adolescents and their families with a serious emotional disturbance.

    For Public Health Professionals & Mental Health Providers

    Effective communication: Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

    This document from the World Health Organization (WHO) includes guidelines to assist public health organizations in more effectively communicating about the COVID-19 outbreak to the general population, healthcare workers, leaders in healthcare facilities, children, older adults, and people in isolation. Additional links to resources are located on the last page.

    Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak

    This briefing note from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) summarizes key mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations in relation to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The brief was last updated February 2020.

    Substance Use and Disasters: A Brief Review of the Literature

    The South Southwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center Network (PTTC) released a literature review focused on substance use and disasters.

    Developing a Social Media Plan to Support Substance Misuse Prevention Efforts

    This six-step guide can help create an effective social media plan to support substance misuse prevention.

    Webinar recording: COVID-19 and suicide prevention: Staying connected and promoting resources

    In this COVID-19 world, how do we help our community members not experience social isolation while engaging in social distancing? A presentation from the Washington State Health Department Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery discusses the protective factor of connectedness for suicide prevention and how prevention professionals, can promote connection. We will discuss suicide prevention programs that have digital resources, safe messaging guidelines for social media and identify ways people can connect with their social networks and helping organizations. View the presentation slides. The recording is also available on YouTube.

    Public Education Materials

    Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health

    This fact sheet from SAMHSA explains social distancing, quarantine, and isolation in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. It discusses feelings and thoughts that may arise during this time and suggests ways to cope and support oneself during such an experience.

    Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

    SAMHSA’s fact sheet provides tips for coping with stress during an infectious disease outbreak. It describes common signs of stress and how to recognize when to get help.

    Resources for Parents and Teachers

    The Education Development Center (EDC) has an extensive list of resources for the COVID-19 crisis.

    Ways for Community-Based Organizations to Support People with Substance Use Disorders during COVID-19

    Communities were already struggling to support individuals with substance use disorders. COVID-19 makes it even tougher. Read more about how you and your community partners can help here.

    NEW! – 5/18/20 Prevention Tools for Latino Families During COVID-19

    Unfortunately, substance abuse continues and even increases, as we face COVID-19. PTTC has released a document with guidance on this topic, specifically for families. View the document (in English) here. The document is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.

    NEW! – 5/18/20 Alcohol Use and Abuse During COVID-19

    The Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC) has released a guide for those managing their COVID-19 related emotions in an unhealthy way—such as using drugs or alcohol to cope. This guide is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


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