Minnesota DHS offers new ways to ease stress during 'Mental Health Awareness Month'

Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, it’s even more important to take care of our own mental health and support those around us.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services joins organizations nationwide in highlighting what individuals can do to help reduce stress and anxiety as well as the community resources available to help.

“The pandemic has thrown us all a curveball,” Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said. “When it comes to mental health, we have to acknowledge the fact that we are living through difficult times and then make sure to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.”

Many people are feeling isolated, with social distancing keeping friends and families apart while also having the constant worry about theirs and others' health. 

According to Minnesota DHS, for people who may already have been facing challenges to their mental health, this added stress and anxiety may be that much more harmful.

Minnesota DHS has launched a webpage with a broad range of mental health resources on the state COVID-19 response website. The page offers Minnesotans a range of resources, from where to call for safe, anonymous support to how to reach a crisis counselor in your area.

Some additional resources available include:

  • Coping with COVID
  • An online resource developed by the Minnesota DHS
  • Peer Support Connection Warmline 
    • Peer-to-peer telephone support that’s safe and supportive 
    •  Call or text 844-739-6369 between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • **CRISIS 
    • Call **CRISIS (274747) from a cell phone to talk to professionals who can help.
  • Crisis Text Line 
    • Text "MN" to 741 741
  • Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline
    • A service of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Call 833-600-2670
  • Tools 2 Thrive
    • This website focuses on resources to reduce stress and anxiety.

Meanwhile, everyone may benefit from taking some simple steps to help cope in this time of stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media
  • Take deep breaths and stretch
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Make time to unwind
  • Connect with others while maintaining social distancing.