IPSWICH — Town Manager Anthony Marino and Public Health Director Colleen Fermon wish to share tips and resources with residents in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Each May is recognized nationally as Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to reduce stigma, educate the public and share resources.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, it’s incredibly important for everyone to take care of their mental health, practice healthy habits and to know what resources are available should they need help,” Fermon said. “This is a very stressful, challenging time for many of us, and we are fortunate to have a lot of hardworking agencies in our area that are available to help anyone struggling with mental health. We want to make sure residents know how to access those services.”
The Town of Ipswich belongs to the Regional Youth Prevention Network, an organization comprised of area public health officials whose mission is to promote social, emotional health and wellness for all youth by connecting direct service providers to close gaps and share prevention resources and best practices.
To view resources put together by the Regional Youth Prevention Network to support mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here. The resources include COVID-19 specific information, tips for managing coronavirus anxiety, guidance for discussing COVID-19 with children, free and confidential helpline service to address youth substance use and addiction, information on the potential implications of COVID-19 for those with substance use disorders, domestic violence information and support and links to various hotlines, agencies and community groups.
Additionally, the Gloucester Health Department, Children’s Friends & Family Services, and the Regional Youth Prevention Network recently announced a new resource for those looking for assistance while navigating the mental health care system. Residents can access, at no cost, a dedicated representative from Children’s Friend and Family Services for help navigating challenges and barriers to mental health care such as insurance, waitlists, availability, phone calls and stigma. Assistance is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 781-540-3329.
Pathways for Children has also put together a variety of resources for parents and families, including online meetings for parents, access to diapers, links to online support groups and mental health therapy, information on school lunch services amid COVID-19, early childhood education resources and other support services available during the ongoing public health crisis. To access Pathway’s collection of resources, click here.
The Town of Ipswich also wishes to share the following tips for managing stress and taking care of one’s mental health during the ongoing pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Be mindful of how much news you are consuming about the pandemic, and take breaks. This includes taking social media breaks.
- Eat healthy and well balanced meals.
- Exercise frequently.
- Try to get enough sleep each night.
- Take deep breaths, stretch and/or medicate.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Do activities you enjoy.
- Talk to family and friends about your feelings and thoughts, while respecting social distancing guidance.
- If stress becomes a barrier to your daily activities for multiple days in a row, contact your healthcare provider.
Additional information from the CDC can be found here.