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McLean County provides Mental Health Help

Written by on March 18, 2020

Photo courtesy to McLean County Facebook page 

NORMAL, Ill.- Stay healthy, stay happy and know where to turn when you need to take care of yourself mentally during the pandemic.

“We always seek to combat fear and stigma, especially around this pressing time,” said McLean County Communication Specialist Dion McNeal.

McLean County’s community partner, PATH, provides 24/7 access to information, referrals and crisis response that enable people to find the help they need; including combating their fears.

Community members can access this service by calling 2-1-1.

“It is important that we remind our community that we’re here with them and we’re ready to help.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a COVID-19 hotline that community members can access to ask general questions.

For someone who is experiencing anxiety specifically about the virus, McLean County recommends engaging any interactions with active listening, without judgment or interruption.

Reassurance to any individual expressing emotional or physical distress can help the individual have relief because their concerns are validated.

“We are experiencing a new, scary situation that is causing a lot of changes and uncertainty. I recommend letting that person know I’m there for them or I would help connect them to someone that could help them,” said McNeal.

Generally, people can feel some relief from just talking about their fears with a supportive individual.

With the virus dictating individuals’ income and livelihoods, McLean County suggests this also plays a major role in mental health.

Sudden unemployment from COVID-19 can cause many mental health challenges; including the losses of connection with others, self-purpose, daily structure, and financial security.

Many researchers have found a connection between unemployment and an increase in mental health challenges, including increased anxiety and depression.

“Not having adequate income can create day to day stresses; such as not having enough money to meet your basic needs,” said McNeal.

Many state and local agencies are currently coming together to help support individuals in need. PATH can help connect an individual to resources, if needed.

As far as services that McLean County is providing, the Department’s Behavioral Health Program participates in many community partnerships and collaborations to help ensure individuals experiencing mental health challenges can receive needed resources to help alleviate some of those challenges.

“These existing relationships are more important now than ever during this pandemic, because we are all working together to help keep our community members mentally and physically healthy,” said McNeal.

Students being out of school may suffer from lack of routine.

“I would encourage all students to talk with a supportive person about their feelings and concerns during this period,” said McNeal. “Also, I would encourage students to ask for help when needed and to know it is normal to have many feelings during this time.

Students are encouraged to utilize each other as a support to get through this difficult time.

With self-isolation and quarantining, there can be emotional and mental distress.

McNeal recommends making personal goals and completing tasks that you enjoy during this time. This may include taking a walk, reading a book, utilizing technology to stay in contact with your  friends, utilize a reliable source to keep updated on the pandemic and not over-watch the news during this time.

For the hotline you can call the phone number  800-889-3931 or you can send an email at DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.