DIFRC | Denver Indian Family Resource Center

Mental Health Resource Guide During Covid-19

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ANXIETY AND FEAR

The Covid-19 pandemic and public health responses, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress during a pandemic can cause the following responses:

● Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on;
● Changes in sleep or eating patterns;
● Difficulty sleeping or concentrating;
● Worsening of chronic health problems;
● Worsening of mental health conditions;
● Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol or substance use.

ACTIONS: If you are experiencing any of these responses and they are not going away, please contact a Colorado mental health provider.
See list below: ● In case of an emergency, please call 911.
● Colorado 2-1-1 is a confidential and multilingual service connecting people to vital resources across the state;
● Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255;
● Denver Indian Health and Family Services 303-953-6600;
● Native American Counseling and Healing Collective 720-262-4755


GRIEVING

Grieving the loss of a loved one while coping with the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming. Stay-at home-orders and limits on the size of in-person gatherings have changed the way friends and family can gather and grieve, including holding traditional funeral services, regardless of whether or not the person’s death was due to COVID-19. However, these types of prevention strategies are importantto slow the spread of COVID-19.

ACTIONS: You can take to help you cope with feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one include:

●Connecting with other people
-Invite people to call you or host conference calls with relatives

-Ask relatives to share stories and pictures with you by mailing letters, email, phone, video chat or social media that allow groups to share with each other (e.g., group chat, group messaging, Facebook).

-Create a date for relatives to honor your loved one by reciting a selected poem, spiritual reading, or prayer within their own households.

● Creating memories or rituals
-Develop a virtual memory book or blog to remember your loved one, and ask relatives to contribute their memories and stories.
-Take part in an activity that has significance to you or the loved one.

● Asking for help from others
-Seek out grief counseling or mental health services, support groups, or hotlines, especially those that can be offered over the phone or online.
-Seek spiritual support from faith groups and/or traditional medicine holders
-Seek support from other trusted community leaders and friends.


STIGMA

FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES: During the COVID-19 pandemic, relatives and friends of a person who died of COVID-19 may experience stigma, such as social avoidance or rejection. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people. Some people may avoid contacting you, your family members, and friends when they would normally reach out to you. Stigma related to COVID-19 is less likely to occur when others know the facts and share them with extended family, friends, and others in your community.

FOR A GROUP/COMMUNITY: Stigma can lead to labeling, stereotyping, discrimination, and other negative behaviors toward others. For example, stigma and discrimination can occur when people link a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population, community, or nationality. Stigma can also happen after a person has recovered from COVID-19 or been released from home isolation or quarantine. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger toward ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease that is causing the problem. Stigma can also make people more likely to hide symptoms or illness, keep them from seeking health care immediately, and prevent individuals from adopting healthy behaviors. This means that stigma can make it more difficult to control the spread of an outbreak.

ACTION FOR INDIVIDUALS:

● Seek mental health provider;

● Quickly communicating the risk, or lack of risk, from contact with products, people, and places;

● Correcting negative language that can cause stigma by sharing accurate information about how the virus spreads.

ACTION FOR COMMUNITIES:

● Maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of those seeking healthcare and those who may be part of any contact investigation;

● Speaking out against negative behaviors and statements, including those on social media;

● Suggesting virtual resources for mental health or other social support services for people who have experienced stigma or discrimination.

Participating organizations: Denver Indian Health and Family Services, Denver Indian Center and Denver Indian Family Resource Center