NYS OMH Launches Emotional Support Line
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many New Yorkers feeling anxious and stressed. New York State Office of Mental Health has launched the first-of-its-kind Emotional Support Helpline in response to the mental health impact of COVID-19. The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.
OMH Emotional Support Helpline
Go to the NYS OMH COVID-19 Resources page to learn more about the helpline and for resources on managing anxiety in difficult times.
Helping the Children and Youth in Our Lives Cope
We know that even in times of biggest crisis, if adults are coping well, children will cope well. Role model good self-care and emphasize healthy habits– “good sleep, nutrition, exercise and hand washing help us stay healthy.” Or “Our best way to help is to do what we know to do to stay healthy: get good sleep, wash hands, sneeze/cough into our elbows and drink lots of water.”
Contribution is an important part of building resilience. It also supports another aspect, control. Helping children and teens learn how they are contributing to positive coping can be a great way to help grow their own resilience. Link their use of healthy habits as an important contribution to their community’s health and safety. Another way might be checking in and making sure that more vulnerable loved ones have what they need.
Good for us all, and helpful for children. Be thoughtful about children and adolescents’ independent access to news or what peers are saying online. Talk things through and clarify any misconceptions or untruths. Take the opportunity to talk about credible sources and offer suggestions that may be the most helpful. Beyond online sources, breaks are also needed from traditional media coverage -like television and radio.
Children deserve truthful answers that match their developmental stage. If a child/teen has a direct question that you don’t know the answer to, it is ok to say, “that’s a good question” and share that you don’t know the answer. In some cases, you may be able to obtain the information. In others, you may share that this is unknown for now, but more will be learned in the coming days or weeks. Offer that once you learn the information; you will share it.
Like all of us, children and teens may notice they are reacting in different ways. They may worry that their reactions aren’t “normal” or that they are “crazy”. Let them know that stress can show up in thoughts, feelings, bodies and behavior. One example may be experiencing headaches, stomachaches, or lack of sleep. Feeling restless, sad or worried are also common, as is irritability. Being disappointed about how activities may be cancelled or delayed is understandable and fair. We may notice that our children and even our teens may be sticking closer to parents/caregivers or needing more assistance to fall asleep or stay asleep independently. Offer hope that by sticking together, talking to each other, giving and receiving comfort and practicing healthy habits we can and will feel better over time – even when things are uncertain.
Here are some recommendations to follow:
- Allow room for questions over time
- Stick to facts
- Continue to follow normal routines like dinner and bedtime. Maintain limits on behavior and expectations.
- Focus on what can be controlled (i.e. social distancing, hand washing)
- Promote positive habits
- Encourage stress-management activities and find ways for new fun
- Let them know you and others are here if they need to talk or need a break
- Listen and validate feelings
Brighten Someone’s Day!
Children and youth have a unique talent at bringing hope and fun to others. Asking them to make a daily phone call or video chat to loved ones, create a funny Tik Tok to share or send a meme can be great ways to stay connected through social distance.
Download a PDF version
of Helping the Children and Youth in Our Lives Cope
Here are some additional resources (click on images below) for you and the children/youth in your lives:
PODCAST with Dr. Ken Ginsburg on Talking with
Kids and Teens about COVID-19.
Managing Time at Home... For Children and Youth...
Sign up for daily activities to learn and play at home
Free educational programming for Pre-K through grade 12
Free access to original educational digital content and
supplemental viewing guides for on air programs.
Resources from the Child Mind Institute | Harvard University (available in Spanish)
Helpful Resources to Use While Schooling From Home
As we are adhering to guidelines provided by health officials related to COVID-19, and working remotely to ensure the health and safety of our staff, one thing remains sure during these uncertain times, kids need to stay engaged to ensure gains are not lost. Our state, county and city governments are working diligently to provide access to much needed community resources. As a coalition of partners who care about children, we are sharing resources for parents and caregivers to utilize while schooling from home.
Click this link to see more helpful resources: https://thechildrensagenda.salsalabs.org/rtfhelpfulresources
Ten Ways to Take Ten!
With many of us moving to working remotely over the past week, we may find ourselves wondering what the new work etiquette is. Is it okay to take breaks? If so, how often and how many? Will my supervisor think that I am slacking off if I don’t respond immediately to an e-mail or call? Many of us may feel that with so much happening so quickly that we can’t stay away from the computer or phone.
However, we know that to perform at our best, in any setting, we need to take brain breaks to refresh
. This is even more true, when working remotely in front of a computer screen for most of the day. Here are ten ways to take ten-minute breaks:
1. Select a favorite flavor and prepare as desired. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Notice the warmth coming through the mug into your hand. Before taking the first sip, pause to inhale the smell. Enjoy the warmth as it travels from your mouth, down your throat into your belly. Repeat.
2. Find a time for you to connect with co-workers to catch up with each other. Give a tour of your new home office and office mates (i.e., pets, children, partners, plants, etc.). Share a funny or inspiring story.
3. Go outside for a walk or just to sit and breathe in the fresh air. Notice the sensation of the air and sun (hopefully!) on your skin. Take in the ever-changing environment – the buds turning into flowers and leaves, trees and grass turning green, and the return of birds.
4. It is important to get up and move at least once an hour. Even while sitting you can do shoulder or neck rolls or stand behind your chair to do some calf raises or slow squats. Take a walk around your house or go outside (see number #3).
5. Take out a deck of cards and play a round of solitaire, work on a crossword puzzle or Soduko, or take out that 1000-piece puzzle you have been meaning to start. While many of these activities can be done online, try going old school to give your eyes a well needed screen break.
6. Let out your inner artist and try drawing a picture, just doodle, or color a mandala. Share with your co-workers on your next video check-in or decorate your home office. Need an idea – try a suggestion generator like https://drawfee-generator.com/
7. Make a few “take ten” play list of your favorite songs. This is a real bonus of working from home instead of in the office because you can sing out loud (and dance) along!
8. Pause and breathe. If you are able, find an alternate space where you can sit undisturbed. Sit comfortably with an alert posture and eyes closed or with a soft gaze. Now, follow your breath in and out. There are many free guided mediations online such as https://insighttimer.com/
9. Prepare a snack and arrange it on a plate as if you were serving it to someone special (because you are!). Sit down. Before eating, offer thanks to all the went into the food arriving on your plate – the sun, rain, and earth needed for it to grow, the people who planted and harvested it, and the individuals who transported it. Notice the colors, smells and flavors as you enjoy your dish.
10. This one may be the most challenging. Try sitting or standing without the need to do anything at all. Just allow everything to slow down to this moment as it is. If the mind wanders, which it will, notice and gently bring your attention back to now.
Download a PDF version of Ten Ways to Take Ten.
Guide to More Efficient & Fun Online Meetings
There's a ton of information out there on holding online meetings. This guide is designed to help you facilitate online meetings. Facilitation is an important part of any meeting but the tools it takes to do it well are a little different online.
An Important thing to remember when hosting an online meeting is that none if the participants will be able to tell what's going on for other people in the group in the same way that they could in real life (IRL). An enormous amount of the information we exchange in an IRL meeting comes from the body language, facial expressions, and tones of our collegues. In a virtual meeting space, our abilities to accurately read these cues are diminished so we're not getting as much information as we normally would. Compensating for this may be one of the biggest and most important jobs of an online facilitator. And just like any other meeting, good facilitation happens BEFORE YOU EVEN ENTER THE ROOM, virtual or otherwise.
If you have any questions or looking for more information please contact:
Director of Practice Transformation
Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
Download a PDF version of Guide to More Efficient & Fun Online Meetings.
Headspace and New York Governor Cuomo’s Office Team Up to Release ‘New York State of Mind,’ Free Meditation and Mindfulness Content Hub Curated for New Yorkers
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 6, 2020--
Today, Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, and the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that they have teamed up to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis facing the state and the nation. Governor Cuomo has emphasized the importance of ensuring New Yorkers have access to the mental health resources they need to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this effort furthers that goal.
Starting today, New Yorkers across the state can access a specially curated collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home mindful workouts, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety. Available at www.headspace.com/ny, the collection will also feature Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, who will share special video messages with the people of New York to help offer guidance, support and solidarity.
Download a PDF Version Headspace and New York Governor Cuomo’s Office Team Up to Release ‘New York State of Mind,’ Free Meditation and Mindfulness Content Hub Curated for New Yorkers.