May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and has been in America ever since 1949, when Mental Health America began reaching out to the public "through the media, local events, and screenings."
If you're struggling because of anxiety caused by the ongoing pandemic, upset by violent incidents that have appeared in the news recently, grieving the loss of a loved one, spending time alone unexpectedly after testing positive for COVID, or simply feeling tired after a hectic few months, you're not the only one.
There are also ways to take care of yourself and your mental state. And remember -- mental health is important regardless of what month it is.
Below, you'll find a list of mental health resources from various Southern California and federal agencies to help and provide support.
Mental Health Glossary
Mental Health America has a list of helpful mental health terms to know, if you're just starting to learn how to address it yourself. Here are some of those terms. The complete list can be found here.
- Coping skill: a strategy to help you deal with difficult situations and lessen unpleasant emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.
- Lived experience: first-hand, personal experience dealing with a mental health or substance use challenge.
- Mental health concern: anything that causes a person to believe their mental health may be suffering; could be a symptom, a group of symptoms, or a diagnosable mental health condition.
- Mental health condition: a set of related symptoms that have been recognized by the mental health community; includes conditions defined in the DSM-V, ICD-11, and by people with lived experience.
- Mental health professional: a licensed or certified mental health treatment provider.
- Mental health screen: an evaluation of your mental health and well-being through scientifically validated assessment tools.
- Risk factor: something that increases the chances of developing a condition.
- Stigma: negative, judgmental, and/or discriminatory attitudes toward mental health challenges and those who live with them. Self-stigma comes from internalizing public stigma.
- Stress: a feeling of emotional or physical tension in response to being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental/emotional pressure.
- Symptom: a physical or mental feature that indicates the potential existence of a concern, condition, or diagnosis.
- Therapist: a mental health professional trained to help individuals understand and cope with their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; may assess and/or diagnose mental health conditions.
- Trauma: an emotional response to a disturbing, scary, or shocking experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope.
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.
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
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.