Responding to COVID-19
Public health emergencies such as COVID-19 have a significant impact on people with mental illness, their families, and caregivers; the mental health workforce; and the mental health treatment system. They also cause stress and anxiety across the population.
Here we highlight MHTTC products and resources that can be useful when coping with the effects of widespread public health crises. A compilation of resources from other reputable organizations is also available below.
If you are interested in other resources related to COVID-19, please also see the following pages for these topics:
MHTTC Upcoming Events:
August 17, 12-1:30pm PT / 3-4:30pm ET
Meetings held every other Monday from 12-1:30pm PT / 3-4:30pm ET
ACT and COVID-19: Meet Up for ACT Mental Health Authorities, Funders, Trainers, and Fidelity Reviewers
September 1, 12-1pm PT / 3-4pm ET
Meetings held first Tuesday of every month through December from 12-1pm PT / 3-4pm ET
MHTTC Products and Resources:
Director of the Southeast MHTTC, Benjamin G. Druss, MD, MPH, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, discussed strategies to mitigate the outcome of the COVID-19 epidemic among patients with serious mental illness in this article published online on April 3, 2020, in JAMA Psychiatry.
Administrators Consultation Office Hours: Engaging & Supporting Staff During and After COVID-19 | Southeast MHTTC
Expert consultants devoted the first segment of this hour-long session to discussing methods of engaging and supporting staff during COVID-19 and addressed questions submitted by registrants.
Recording coming soon!
Research has shown that individual outcomes are better, program compliance is higher, and organizations decrease staff time spent and complete fewer assessments when using interpreters in health and behavioral health settings. Discussion topics for this session included Latinx, Language Access, & COVID-19; the importance of trained interpreters; common practices of trained interpreters; strategies for working with trained and untrained interpreters; and considerations for mental health settings.
This webinar offered information on awareness, self-care, and connection with others so public health workers can develop a plan for maintaining their mental health. We discussed common issues such as coping with fear, anxiety, and loss; changing work demands; navigating family relationships; and coping with an uncertain future as the pandemic continues.
Mental health professionals are bracing for what may be an epidemic of clinical depression related to COVID-19. In this webinar, Dr. Jonathan Kanter reviewed the science on risk factors for depression that causes this grave warning, shared the latest information on how individuals are responding to the current crisis, and proposed best practices for depression prevention and treatment moving forward.
Compassion Fatigue: Additional Risks while Serving Vulnerable Populations During a Pandemic | Mountain Plains MHTTC
This session raised awareness about compassion fatigue - which is the cost of caring for people who are in emotional and physical pain. This session provided attendees with an overview of the symptoms of compassion fatigue and how unaddressed compassion fatigue can lead to burnout. Attendees had an opportunity to assess their current level of compassion fatigue and be provided with tools and resources to build compassion satisfaction for better self-care.
Recording coming soon!
Many workers have been pushed to the limit as they seek to adjust to a “new normal.” This presentation defined and identified signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue while also offering suggestions in avoiding and/or overcoming compassion fatigue. We also discussed healthy self-care activities while also developing boundaries and a balance between work and home life. You can also view the accompanying fact sheet here.
Coping with Stress During the Pandemic | National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC
The presenter addressed stressors among Latino communities as well as culturally responsive strategies to address symptoms. The presentation also discussed therapeutic interventions for Latino clients with mental health disorders whose symptoms have exacerbated during the pandemic and approaches to further develop a therapeutic relationship while using telehealth platforms.
Recording coming soon!
The Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) recognized the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 situation and developed a webpage to assist individuals, providers, communities, and states across our region. Note, SAMHSA stands ready to assist in any manner possible and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.
Hosted by the Southeast MHTTC, this webinar recording reviewed common psychological reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of this pandemic on family, friends, and collegial relationships. The importance of resilience in the face of this adversity was underscored. Several effective coping strategies were reviewed: taking care of self, fostering and re-inventing wellness, managing stress/anxiety, staying connected, promoting teamwork, and navigating existential concerns.
COVID-19 and Mental Health Resources | Pacific Southwest MHTTC
The Pacific Southwest MHTTC curated a series of topical resource sheets to help you find high-quality tools and information on caring for yourself, your families, and the communities you serve.
- For Diverse Populations and Providers Who Support Them
- For Parents, Families, and Caregivers
- For Providers
- Hotlines, Helplines, and Support Groups
- Substance Abuse Recovery
- Supporting Your Mental Health & Managing Your Stress and Anxiety
Elevating Language through COVID-19 | Southeast MHTTC
The emergence of mental health as a talking point in media reports and conversations around COVID-19 has demonstrated how language can be a barrier to wellness and recovery. “Elevating Language through COVID-19” provided a 360-degree view of the language of behavioral health.
- In Part One: The Power of Language, we looked at the behavioral health language that has emerged through the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss alternatives and opportunities.
- In Part Two: Creating the Elevating Message, participants developed a two-minute message of behavioral health hope and possibility to use when advocating for behavioral health supports and services.
This virtual resource from the New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center's Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative (C-TLC) was designed to help families and schools cultivate mindful habits to reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness and connection.
The April 2020 issue of the Great Lakes Current, with a special focus on responding to COVID-19, included links to resources and information produced by the Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC, as well as the other TTC programs across the country.
Guiding the Shepherd and Shepherding the Flock in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic | Central East MHTTC
This webinar series explored how faith-based community leadership can build mental health capacity in the midst of COVID-19. It addressed the need to assist these leaders in (1) improving their general knowledge base around mental and emotional disorders and (2) removing the stigma regarding mental health issues. By incorporating a cross-collaboration between faith leaders and psychiatric practitioners, the three-part series helped improve the overall well-being of African-American communities during and beyond the current pandemic.
This guide featured practical health and education resources in HHS Region 7 states — Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska — in response to a changing health and wellness landscape resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use these resources as you see fit or share with colleagues, patients, or clients.
Paul J. Margolies, PhD, presented an interactive webinar focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) supported employment services. After a review of the IPS approach - including its principles, practices, and importance - participants learned about the comprehensive set of implementation strategies used with over 85 implementation sites in New York.
Implications for Latinos with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) During a Pandemic | National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC
Minority groups are underrepresented in the research on coordinated specialty care (CSC). New Mexico (NM) has the highest percentage of Hispanics and Latinos (48.8%) and the second-highest percentage of Native Americans (8.7%) in the U.S. Therefore, NM is in a unique position to better understand the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of Hispanics and other minorities (H&OM) referred to and enrolled in CSC and to learn about the communities they live in.
Recording coming soon!
For Latina survivors of gender-based violence, added risks may result from the current lockdown and social distancing measures.
This is a recording of the webinar: Introduction to Peer Support in the Era of COVID-19, featuring Talor Gray, MPH, which took place on May 13, 2020. In this webinar, strategies for peer support and how to make this work while social distancing are discussed.
This webinar focused not on the technical how-to of online peer support, but how to provide meaningful support and keep people connected within that digital space. We explored how to move traditional in-person activities to online activities, including how to adapt, and when adaptation is not practical or possible.
In times of chaos and turbulence, the work of leading through change is further buffeted by the unpredictability and severity of the challenges being confronted. At times like this, leaders need different strategies to continue to “weather the storm” and lead effectively. This session explored these new strategies, including foresight thinking, foresight planning, and ongoing communications at all levels.
Maintaining Mental Wellness During Times of Crisis | Central East MHTTC
This Central East MHTTC co-sponsored training equipped participants with strategies for maintaining mental wellness for themselves and others during times of crisis. Concepts from within both the mental health field and faith community were synthesized in order to provide an integrated approach to wellness.
Recording coming soon!
Managing Fears and Anxiety around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was developed by the Harvard University Health Services and provided helpful insight into common reactions and tips on ways to manage and cope.
Mental Health Providers and Vicarious Trauma During National Emergencies | National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC
The presenter discussed the dimensions of vicarious trauma, the concepts of compassion fatigue and burning syndrome, the neurobiology of accompaniment in mental health professionals, individual responses and their implications at the organizational level, the post-natural events experience, and strategies to face the effects of vicarious trauma.
English and Spanish recordings coming soon!
In response to the recent pandemic (COVID-19), several national organizations and associations have shared and promoted resources to assist parents and caregivers with how to prepare the family for an outbreak, techniques to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, coping strategies for dealing with stress, and helping children cope. Developed by the Mountain Plains MHTTC, this product compiles recent toolkits, guides, tip sheets, and infographics that have been developed by reputable sources to assist parents and caregivers during this time.
Developed by the Southeast MHTTC, this fact sheet briefly covers why and how mental health facilities should prepare for public health emergencies.
Administrators and providers can take important steps to prepare for public health emergencies and respond when they occur. This webinar, hosted and recorded by the Southeast MHTTC, provided guidance on how these organizations can prepare for a public health crisis, develop continuity of operations plans, make needed service modifications, and address staffing concerns.
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a multidisciplinary, team-based model that provides intensive community-based and outreach-oriented services to people who experience the most severe and persistent mental illness. The vast majority also have a co-occurring substance use disorder and many experiences comorbid medical illnesses as well as homelessness. This is a vulnerable population and their providers – ACT teams – are at elevated risk themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The infographic covers the psychological impact of pandemics like COVID-19, and shares coping strategies that people can use to stay healthy and resilient during public health emergencies.
A public health crisis causes distress for all involved, including providers of behavioral health services. Attending to our personal well-being during this time is just as important as supporting individuals receiving services. Hosted by the Northeast and Caribbean MHTTC, this webinar recording highlighted specific tools, strategies, and resources that promote provider well-being.
Providing Culturally Relevant Crisis Services During COVID-19 | Great Lakes MHTTC
- Part 1: The Morbidity of National Trust and Mental Health Disparities - Past, Present, and Future: In this presentation, Albert Thompson, M.A., expanded our focus from the world's present circumstances so we can better understand how society has responded to past health crises and the disproportionately devastating impact these events had, and continue to have, on marginalized populations as a result of prejudicial treatment and economic disadvantage.
- Part 2: Culturally Responsive Factors in COVID-19: Providing mental health services in the present and future conditions will require a new consideration for cultural elements and linguistic tools via a re-imagined perspective on policy and technology when serving culturally diverse communities. Dr. Michelle Evans guided us through the use of these tools, the challenges, and the opportunities we now have amid a crisis.
- Part 3: Culturally Responsive Factors to Consider for the Hmong Population: Providing mental health services in the present and future conditions will require a new consideration for cultural elements and linguistic tools when serving culturally diverse communities. Dr. Pang Foua Yang Rhodes discussed how cultural values, historical trauma, and acculturation may influence how Hmong individuals and communities respond to large scale crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed prevention strategy aimed at reducing distress and increasing resilience during and following mass disasters, including natural disasters and pandemics. The Trauma Recovery Innovations program at the University of Washington has been adapting PFA to support members of the health care workforce amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 12, 2020, Dr. Andrew J. McLean spoke to the best practices for responding to the psychosocial impacts of disasters. This session focused on understanding the importance of risk communication to mitigate mental health problems during disasters, reviewed the phases of disaster as it pertains to mental health, and provided an overview of risk and protective factors for individuals and communities faced with disaster.
The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in significant changes for the programs and personnel in the behavioral health care delivery system. To help facilitate an exchange of ideas on actions providers can implement, Genesee Community Mental Health Center CEO Danis Russell and Rosecrance President/COO Dave Gomel shared early lessons learned from their respective agencies and answered questions from participants.
This is a list of resources that have been compiled (and continues to be updated weekly) during the National American Indian and Alaska Native MHTTC's ongoing series: Strategies of Support for Mental Health Providers - Empowering one another during times of crisis. This guide was tailored for providers who are Native and/or are working with American Indian and Alaska Native individuals.
This one-pager provides an overview of resources for primary care providers experiencing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic or other health care crises.
We created six infographics, one for each New England State, that summarizes key mental health resources, under several categories: "Need to connect?", "In a crisis?" and "Specialized Support." We vetted them with state contacts and will disseminate them via our website, networks, and social media.
COVID-19 has created additional stress on our rural and agricultural communities who were experiencing a host of stressors prior to the pandemic. Concerns about a possible increase in deaths by suicide and serving people with suicidal ideation are the source of increased distress among rural health and mental healthcare providers. This webinar offered tools for primary care providers working in rural areas to address these concerns.
Many primary care providers lack the time, interest, and/or training to address behavioral health issues like substance use, depression, and anxiety. In this session, we discussed expanding the health care team with low-cost team members who can systematically deliver Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) to screen for substance use, and a collaborative care model for depression and anxiety.
These are overwhelming times. Stress, anxiety, fear, loss, and grief – all part of ordinary life – are exponentially heightened in this time of pandemic. How do we name what we’re experiencing? How do we stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit? How do we keep gentleness and compassion alive for self and others?
Self-Care in the Time of COVID-19 | Central East MHTTC
Self-care is more than "taking care of yourself." It involves identifying and addressing one's emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs - even more so during the current crisis. Participants learned how to create a personal self-care plan for achieving mental health and wellness. This Baltimore Faith Based Commission for Behavioral Health-sponsored event is supported by the Central East MHTTC.
Recording coming soon!
Sharing our Wisdom: Lived Experience and COVID-19 | New England MHTTC
- Session 1 - Sharing our Wisdom: Peer Support and Essential Workers during COVID-19: In this webinar we discuss the role that Peer Workers play in the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants had the opportunity to speak from their lived experiences and presenters welcome questions from the audience. Recording coming soon!
- Session 2 - "Welcome to my World": Extreme Emotional States and COVID-19: In this webinar we will discuss past and current extreme emotional states and how they affect our experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will have the opportunity to speak from their lived experiences. We welcome questions from the audience!
- Session 3 - Social Justice and COVID-19: In this webinar we discuss our experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic as Black and Latina women. Participants will speak from their lived experience. We welcome questions from the audience! Registration available here!
This Pacific Southwest MHTTC webinar on systems and agency leadership approaches embraces trauma-informed care. This session helped leaders to understand the fundamentals of leading their organization towards becoming more trauma-informed and resilience-oriented. The content blended brain science, principles for building a safe environment, and promising practices for trauma-informed systems.
This webinar highlighted:
- The importance of prioritizing sleep to help combat the spread of COVID19
- The role of sleep in helping to maintain mental and physical health under current social restrictions
- The logistics of continuing sleep research during a pandemic
This fact sheet provides an overview of how peer support and recovery specialists can maintain a connection with their clients, even during COVID-19. The difference between "social distancing" and "physical distancing" is explained, and peers are provided with important technological and social considerations that will be helpful as they seek to continue their services during the pandemic.
Hosted by the National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC, this webinar recording identified stressors particular to the Hispanic and Latino population that can be exacerbated during quarantine as a result of infectious disease outbreaks. Also, the webinar addressed stress management tools during a stressful event such as a pandemic for mental health providers to use with their Hispanic and Latino clients. Special considerations for Latino youth mental health are also provided. Now available in Spanish!
The Great Lakes MHTTC, ATTC, and PTTC hosted this webinar series presented by Sheila Weix, MSN RN CARN. During her tenure as a leader in SUD treatment, she has been involved with emergencies related to the HIV epidemic, 9/11, and the 2008 economic collapse. She is currently applying this experience in an outpatient treatment service that includes medication-assisted treatment in rural Wisconsin during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Northeast and Caribbean Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) hosted mutual support calls for mental health supervisors and direct service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the document are tips and resources that supervisors have shared with us over the last few weeks to address the challenges of providing supervision during this current crisis.
- Understand how COVID-19 has changed our world personally, professionally, and globally
- Identify populations more susceptible to stress during the pandemic
- Recognize stress reactions and other mental health concerns in response to the pandemic
- Strategies for supporting children and available resources
- Support tools for ourselves and others
As agency leaders, directors, and supervisors, how do we stay grounded and focused during these turbulent times? How do we bring forth our humanity and strengths to support employees? What challenges/learning opportunities are staff experiencing? What do they need? This online event identified principles and practices to help staff adapt and thrive in this extraordinary period of our lives.
Social distancing is the deliberate increase of physical space between people to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious illness. For mental health professionals, the challenges that accompany social distancing can place significant roadblocks to daily work. This product developed by the South Southwest MHTTC, provides tips for the mental health workforce on supporting behavioral health during social distancing.
Coping with a public health emergency can be stressful and worrisome. This resource, developed by the Northeast and Caribbean MHTTC, addresses steps you can take to care for yourself during difficult times. There are also services and supports available if you need a higher level of emotional care.
This presentation covered preparedness and response for state hospitals, crisis services, residential & community treatment services, and the criminal & civil justice interface. It also covered the challenges regarding financing for community providers, providing medication, adapting to changing technology, and special behavioral health populations such as people experiencing homelessness, children, and older adults.
This one-hour online session focused on the identification and description of common barriers to treatment when working with traumatized Hispanics and Latinos. The presenter provided practical treatment strategies for overcoming these barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic, strategies for effective and efficient trauma processing, and a concrete model for rapid crisis de-escalation based on a case study of a Hispanic client.
This one-hour online session focused on the importance of co-developing the Training of Trainers (TOT) curriculum with the direct participation of communication members. Important topics discussed were the implementation of the TOT and the preliminary results, creative ways disseminating a TOT curriculum online. Participants were taught about the importance of partnering with grassroots organizations to develop psychoeducational curricula and become familiar with the impact of the intersection of domestic violence, trauma, and mental health in Latinx children and families.
Developed by the Northeast and Caribbean MHTTC, this resource addresses that a public health crisis can cause distress for all involved, including providers of behavioral health services. Attending to your personal well-being during this time is just as important as supporting the individuals you serve. Providers are encouraged to be aware of the toll that working with others in distress can have on their own mental well-being.
Moving towards a trauma-informed and resilient organization involves intentional and equitable approaches to systemic and organizational change. The Pacific Southwest MHTTC has a webinar on systems and agency leadership approaches that embrace trauma-informed care. The session assisted leaders to understand the fundamentals of leading their organization towards becoming more trauma-informed and resilience-oriented.
The recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted mental health providers and all who provide support and care in unanticipated ways. This webinar provided attendees with a brief overview of how the body can react to the stress and trauma related to COVID-19. In this webinar, we introduced several evidence-based strategies to reduce anxiety, distress, and hyperarousal. Additional resources can also be found here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an opportunity for major experimentation in behavioral healthcare delivery. Dr. Lori Raney presented a view of the innovations, responses, and opportunities being seen nationally as the behavioral health community responds to COVID-19. She also reviewed some emerging lessons learned nationally over a two-month time frame of significant changes in behavioral health care delivery.
Wellness and Self-Compassion: Supporting Mental Health and Substance Use Providers during the Pandemic | New England MHTTC
This webinar focused on how providers are coping and how to best support this critical segment of the workforce. Participants learned how hopelessness, fatigue, stress, trauma, and social distancing are impacting the well-being of mental health and substance use practitioners. Presenters highlighted the need to practice self-compassion, holistic wellness, and self-care as essential strategies to deal with compassion fatigue and burnout.
Recording coming soon!
While it can be difficult to reflect in the midst of a crisis - like in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic - this session dedicated time to exploring strategies for improving leadership’s response in times of crisis. This session explored the Crisis Leadership Continuum (readiness, response, recovery, and renewal), highlighting health care leadership approaches and strategies integral to ensuring staff wellbeing through crisis.
In this webinar, we cover how your organization structure can support youth peer staff, supervision strategies for supporting youth peers, and offer recommendations on how youth peer support specialists can support their youth while maintaining boundaries. The webinar was hosted by Maria Hermsen-Kritz and Caitlin Baird, two experienced youth peer support specialists and supervisors.
For Behavioral Health Providers:
For Families and Children:
For First Responders:
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline is standing by 24/7 to support you during the pandemic & beyond. Toll-free, multilingual, & confidential support services are available to all residents in the U.S. & its territories. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor.