Abbe Community Mental Health offering free coaching session on caring for mental health during COVID-19

The Fillmore Center, Nov. 14. 2019. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Abbe Community Mental Health is offering a free mental health coaching session for anyone interested in getting tips on caring for mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbe Center’s offices around Iowa — including locations in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — remain open during COVID-19, for both in-person visits and virtual appointments. The center also offers walk-in hours at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Manchester locations. The other locations require appointments to be scheduled, but there are same-day appointments available.

The free coaching session is intended to be a resource and not a replacement for ongoing therapy services.

Health officials in Linn County have stressed the importance of focusing on mental health during the pandemic and not overlooking mental health needs.

“[Mental health] remains critically important to our well-being, more so now than maybe any other time in our lives,” Drew Martel, crisis services director at Foundation 2, said during a Linn County Public Health press conference in early April. The nonprofit continues to operate its 24/7 crisis line at 319-362-2174.

“The stress caused by a global pandemic, social distancing and very painful economic realities that have hit many of us hard, combined with the constant uncertainty and the fact that good news can be awfully hard to come by, makes for an incredibly traumatic period for most of us,” Martel added.

Martel suggested some actions people can take on their own to prioritize mental health.

• Try to keep to routines or create new ones.

• Sleep and diet remain critically important to our physical and mental health.

• Stay at home but also try to stay socially connected. Encourage and support your kids to do the same. Phone calls and chats with friends, family and coworkers is incredibly important to our well-being.

• Pay attention to what your body and mind is telling you. Don’t ignore how you feel.

• Take time each day to turn off the news and electronics and step outside.

• Show patience to kids. Check in with them regularly and let them vent.

• Reach out for support if you need it. Seeking professional help is a sign of strength.

People interested in learning more about mental health services offered through the Abbe Center can look online or call 319-398-3562, which is the number for the Cedar Rapids office.

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