Meeting the Needs of Rural Communities
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How to support the basic and behavioral health needs of your community during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on all our lives. Adults and children alike are stressed and overwhelmed by its challenges. Many of us have felt isolated and lonely because we have been keeping our distance to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Resources are available to help community members with their stress and other personal problems they might be experiencing. As a trusted rural community leader, you can use the following resources to have honest conversations and help the members of your community get the support they need.
Support for people’s basic needs
- People in your community may be eligible for extra financial help to cover food, housing, and bills.
- Several other resources for individuals and families seeking food assistance are available.
- The FoodFinder website is a searchable map for finding free food assistance programs near you.
- People who rent their homes have certain legal protections and support available.
- Employers and workers should know about relevant workplace safety issues, wage and hour laws, and unemployment insurance.
- Eligible veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers can get a COVID-19 vaccine through VA.
- Farmers in your community may be eligible for financial and other help.
- The Rural Health Information Hub’s Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has COVID-19 information specific to rural communities.
Support for people’s behavioral health needs
- How Right Now is an online tool to help people cope with feelings of grief, loss, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- People Seeking Treatment lists free and confidential resources to help individuals connect with local, skilled, and trained counselors.
- Coping With a Disaster or Traumatic Event has information for individuals on how to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. It also has information for government, faith-based, and community leaders on how to support their communities.
- Young Adults: Care for Yourself One Small Way Each Day poster has brief tips for young adults on healthy ways to deal with stress.
- COVID-19 Behavioral Health Resources is a collection of resources organized by topic and target audience
For individuals at risk for self-harm and suicide
During times of extreme stress, people may have thoughts of harming themselves and suicide. Suicide is preventable and help is available.
- #BeThere to Help Prevent Suicide has information about the risk of suicide, signs to watch for, and how to respond if community members notice these signs in themselves, their friends, or their loved ones.
- Community members in crisis can get immediate help:
- Call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888- 628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline 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 Hotline
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255
- Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish).
- Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116 – TTY Instructions
- National Helpline for mental and substance use disorders: 1-800-662-4357
For families and children
- Helping Children Cope has tips for parents about behavior changes to watch for in their children and ways to support their children through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Helping Children Cope With Emergencies has tips for parents on how to help their children cope with natural and human-caused disasters.
- Coping After a Disaster is a Ready Wrigley activity book for parents to use with their young children to help them cope after a disaster. It and other activity books are available in English and Spanish on the CDC website.
- Teen Depression has information about the signs and symptoms of depression and how to get help for depression.
- Students: Care for Yourself One Small Way Each Day is a poster with brief tips for family caregivers on healthy ways to deal with stress.
For people at higher risk for serious illness
- Ariadne Labs’ Serious Illness Care Program developed a COVID-19 Response Toolkit to help support effective patient–provider communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Older Adults: Care for Yourself One Small Way Each Day is a poster with brief tips for older adults on healthy ways to deal with stress.
For health care workers and first responders
- Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic has information on how to recognize the symptoms of stress and how to cope.
- Emergency Responders: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself has suggestions for how to prepare for disaster responses and how to cope with the related stress.
- The First Responders and Disaster Responders Resource Portal has stress management tips and links to relevant online trainings, webcasts, and other resources.
- Clinicians: Care for Yourself One Small Way Each Day is a poster with brief tips for clinicians on healthy ways to deal with stress.
For other workers
- Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic has information on how to recognize the symptoms of stress and how to cope.
- #FarmStateOfMind has resources for farmworkers and their families to help with managing stress, anxiety, and depression.