With schools closing schools for in-person instruction, mental health is a larger concern for all members of the educational community. Students are missing connections with their peers and at risk of potential isolation, educators are potentially losing time with their support network, and parents are often juggling dual roles of employees and "teachers." This can be particularly problematic for students with existing concerns or sub-optimal home conditions. On top of this, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many existing supports in place for mental health support have stopped face-to-face care.
The New Jersey chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness has accordingly closed their offices and suspended most in-person support groups. However, the center is still open to calls during regular business hours, per a notice on March 16th. More relevant to us, NAMI NJ will be hosting online support groups available to the public. You can find information on these support groups here, NAMI will offer the following programs:
NAMI Family Support Group: Tuesdays at 12pm & Wednesdays at 7pm
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group: Wednesdays at 12pm & Wednesdays at 7pm
Additionally, the crisis hotline is still running and is available by texting NAMI to 741741. The organization has compiled a number of resources on their COVID webpage.
We're sharing these resources with you in the hopes that they can be of use for anyone who is struggling, and we encourage you to disseminate this information to anyone you believe might need it. In these challenging times, it is to our collective benefit to check-in on our peers, foster new connections, and keep in touch with our support networks.