The following opportunity has been shared on behalf of a member or affiliate of the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network.

We hope that each of you are staying healthy and hopeful!  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding the news items, program listings, or resources in this email or items that you would like to highlight to the group and wider community.
Announcing the Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19 Webinar Series
Please share the following webinar series with your networks.  Our first webinar will be next Tuesday so we hope you and others in your network can join us.

Many people turn to their faith leaders when they have a concern or fear. For many people, even those with no mental health diagnosis, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased fears and concerns exponentially.  Sometimes these emotions increase so much that they need to be addressed with specialized expertise that understands mental health concerns.  This webinar series will help you consider and prepare for the mental health challenges that may arise during and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will include research on mental health and strategies for next steps in the days and months ahead.
Tuesday, April 28, 12:00 ET
The outbreak of COVID-19 has placed overwhelming stress on people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and provoke strong emotions in adults and children. Even those without mental health diagnoses are experiencing challenges.  Many people turn to faith leaders when they have a concern and some leaders are predicting a huge wave of people expressing those challenges during and following the impacts of COVID-19.  Faith and community leaders can prepare now and be ready to engage the questions people will have.  This webinar will help you understand what research tells us may be coming, the perspective of mental health professionals in this moment, and what faith leaders are preparing to address.
Also, save the dates for the second and third webinar in this series:
  • Tuesday, May 12, 12:00 ET – When Trauma, Fear, and Anxiety Become Overwhelming
  • Tuesday, May 26, 12:00 ET – Task-shifting to Address Increasing Challenges

CDC Webinar on Psychological First Aid TODAY
April 22 at 1 p.m. ET, Join the meeting here.
When people are faced with disaster, intense emotions are often present and appropriate. Psychological First Aid (PFA) can help responders promote an environment of safety, calm, connectedness, self-efficacy, empowerment, and hope. This webinar will provide a brief overview of PFA and connect viewers with both online and in-person training resources. Learn more about the webinar, including continuing education options here.

Upcoming online conference on Faith and Mental Health resources
The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College is hosting the Spiritual First Aid Summit on April 30.  See below for information from them about the online event.
“Because of COVID-19 we are living through unprecedented times marked by physical distancing and weeks of isolation. There is a deep need for help, hope and care. Join Christian leaders to learn how to serve others holistically. By attending the Spiritual First Aid Online Summit, you will learn to address peoples’ most critical disaster needs based on 15 years of research conducted by Humanitarian Disaster Institute scholars. Specifically, you will find practical, intuitive, and evidence-based ways to help others.” Register online.

State and Local COVID-19 Mental Health Initiatives
Below are examples of State and Local leaders promoting mental health awareness and resources to aid the COVID-19 pandemic. These were promoted by the White House to state and local leaders across the country.
Ohio Governor DeWine urged support groups to check in with people with serious mental illness or addiction and highlighted the need to get the suicide hotline sent out to more people.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo offered resources to those struggling with mental health during this time.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed the collateral impact on mental health that COVID-19 takes and highlighted the state’s crisis hotline while working with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to expand telehealth access.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said that mental health crisis calls are increasing and will issue guidance for Hoosiers on the tools available to help them with mental health issues and will increase staffing at these centers.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an Executive order expanding mental health counseling options for Minnesotans. Specifically, the Executive Order authorized out-of-state mental health providers to treat Minnesota patients via telehealth services.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the launch of a new Remote Patient Monitoring Program and mental health support line. Call4Calm, operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division, is a free-of-charge emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a warmline to help Michiganders with persistent mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The peer-operated warmline is intended to act as a resource for people experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.
The Texas Health & Human Services Commission established a hotline and texting service on Mental Health.
San Diego, California Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County Supervisors announced a $25 Million partnership for a Behavioral Health Fund dedicated to assessment, treatment, detoxification, crisis stabilization, residential treatment, and supportive housing.
San Jose, California Mayor Sam Liccardo hosted a Facebook Live session on mental health during the coronavirus crisis.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH), the largest county mental health department in the United States, has scaled resources and provided coronavirus-specific guidance for individuals during the pandemic. More here.
In Coconino County, Arizona, the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Liaisons distributed Mental Health resource listing (including crisis line).
Pima County, Arizona worked with SoAZ NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) to put their “Ending the Silence” online, and to market it to local schools, public (traditional and charter) and private. Ending the Silence is a National Program, usually taught in person to Middle and High School Students.
In Arapahoe County, Colorado, Aurora Mental Health continues to provide all core services. Crisis, withdrawal management (detox), and residential services are face-to-face, and all other services have transitioned to phone (allowed in Colorado for indigent and Medicaid clients) and telehealth.
In Tennessee, Shelby County is offering free teletherapy services to all county employees.
In Indiana, Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen held a Facebook Live with a licensed therapist in his city to discuss tips on how families and individuals can care for their mental health.
In Georgia, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz gave a brief video update on the County’s response to COVID-19 and highlighted mental health considerations & shelter-in-place orders.
In Georgia, the DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) has gone to telehealth services for clients that wish to maintain social isolation while accessing mental health services.  The CSB pharmacy services have arranged for same-day delivery of medication refill to their homes for all clients using telehealth access. More information here.
In Florida, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey led a discussion about anxiety and new routines citizens can take to maintain their mental health.
DuPage County, Illinois established an on-site 12 bed crisis residential program that remains open and available to community members who are having a mental health crisis and not in need of an inpatient level of care, as well as implementation of a health screening for anyone in need.

Articles and news of note
JAMA Psychiatry published an article describing the potential “Perfect Storm” of those who are thinking about suicide and why we need to be prepared.
Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201