For many, the holidays are a happy time spent with family and relaxing after a long year. But for some, the holidays can be difficult, causing mental and emotional strain.
If you're struggling because of anxiety caused by the ongoing pandemic, grieving the loss of a loved one, spending time alone unexpectedly after testing positive for COVID, or simply feeling tired after a hectic 2021, you're not the only one.
There are also ways to take care of yourself and your mental state.
Below, you'll find a list of mental health resources from various Southern California and federal agencies to help and provide support.
Tips for Coping With Stress During the Pandemic
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips:
- If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, contact a health professional or go get a COVID test.
- Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly, and help protect you long-term after the emergency passes.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news. Being informed is good; being overwhelmed is not.
- Take care of your body by taking deep breaths, stretching, or meditating.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other fun activities you enjoy, or take time to learn a new hobby.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with others or faith-based groups. Connect online or by phone or mail.
- There are ways to celebrate the holidays with family while protecting your health and that of people around you. Take precautions, and enjoy the season.
County Mental Health Resources
- For LA County's Mental Health Hotline, call (800) 854-7771.
- LA County's Substance Abuse Service Helpline: (844) 804-7500.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255. There's also an online chat option.
- Disaster Distress Helpline, for distress related to natural and man-made disasters: (800) 985-5990. The number works for texts and calls.
- Trevor Project Lifeline: (800) 788-7386, text "START" to 678-678, or chat online.
- 211 LA County: Dial 2-1-1 within LA County for health and social services.
- LA County residents only: Access a free iPrevail subscription from LACDMH here for free 24/7 online mental health resources, including live coaching from a trained specialist and online support groups.
- Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal (LA-HOP). They have COVID-19 resources for unhoused individuals.
- L.A. Found: (833) 569-7651 or LAFound@wdacs.lacounty.gov for help to locate individuals who wander due to dementia, Alzheimer's, autism or other cognitive impairing conditions.
- Crisis Text Line: Text LA to 741741 to get help from a live, trained crisis counselor.
- Orange County Health Care Agency Resources.
- Riverside County Mental Health COVID-19 Resources.
- San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Department.
- Ventura County Behavioral Health.
National Institute of Mental Health Resources
- This infographic helps you determine whether you need help with your mental health, if you don't know where to start and offers self-help activities.
- Coping with COVID-19.
- How to support your child.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish).
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116 TTY Instructions
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255.
- SAMHSA's National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889.
- Treatment Services Locator Website
- Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers
Holiday Tips From the National Alliance on Mental Illness CA
- Take steps to stay safe from COVID-19 during holiday gatherings.
- Be kind to yourself, putting your own mental and physical well-being first. Once you know what adds stress, you can take steps to cope with those situations.
- Write a gratitude list for what and who you're thankful for, and offer thanks. Gratitude has been shown to improve mental health.
- Manage your time, and don't bite off more than you can chew. It's okay to say no to plans.
- Be realistic. If your holidays don't look like you imagined, or the happy versions on TV or social media, that's okay.
- Set boundaries. Even while spending time with close family, you can only control your own role and actions.
- Practice relaxation, and take breaks from the holiday rush to refocus.
- Set aside time for yourself, to do things you enjoy.
- Get enough sleep.
- Spending time in nature has also been shown to improve mental health.
- Volunteering can help you feel less isolated and more connected to your community.
LAUSD Mental Health Resources
- Click the link here to access non-emergency tele-health information. You can also call 213-241-3840.
- Wellness Center and referral forms can be found here.
- Crisis counseling and intervention services can be found here.
- School mental health clinic emails can be found here.
- Wellness Center locations and information can be found here.
California Surgeon General Nadine Harris Burke also released a report focused on toxic stress and health. Read Roadmap to Resilience.