NAMI Lehigh Valley Offers New Support Group for Those Experiencing COVID Anxiety and Depression
Bethlehem PA November 16—There is no question that COVID-19 has had an impact on the mental health of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control report that in late June more than 40% of adults in the U.S. reported adverse mental or behavioral health issues. Concerns about getting the virus, disruption of usual routines, employment and financial worries and stress about the unknown all contribute. To help meet this need, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Lehigh Valley affiliate, will begin a new virtual support group, Real Talk—A support group for right now. The group is free of charge and open to anyone 18 years and older.
Many people who are experiencing symptoms for the first time aren’t aware that help is available. “Though most of NAMI’s support meetings are for either people living with mental illnesses or family members of people living with mental illnesses, Real Talk meetings would be helpful for people who feel they are getting worn down, anxious or depressed about their general situation whether that is due to the COVID-19 pandemic or not” says NAMI support facilitator Mark Fedorov. “There is a structure to this support group,” adds Margaret Murphy, NAMI Lehigh Valley executive director. “Certainly we want people to have an opportunity to talk about how they are feeling but the focus of the group will be positive, with opportunities to share tips for coping, available resources and, we hope, humor!”
According to the Mayo Clinic, benefits of participating in a support group may include:
- Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
- Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
- Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
- Improving skills to cope with challenges
- Staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans
- Gaining a sense of empowerment, control or hope
- Learning about health, economic or social resources
Of course, anyone who is experiencing a mental or emotional distress that may be beyond the help a support group can provide should contact their medical provider or, if in crisis, call 911.
The group, which is free of charge, will meet weekly on Tuesday evenings, 6-7 p.m., beginning November 17. Participants can join the meeting using the Zoom link, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84750337237 or by calling in at 646 558 8656 and using meeting ID 847 5033 7237.
Information provided to TVL by:
Margaret C. Murphy
Executive Director, NAMI Lehigh Valley
802 West Broad Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018