MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The mental health community has raised many concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on mental illness.

The Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN), a coalition of over 40 organizations dedicated to improving the mental health system, says the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses, their families, and mental health providers may all be at risk.

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“It is normal right now to feel anxious, scared and worried,” the MHLN said in a statement. “But, if you have a mental illness, your symptoms may worsen due to the uncertain times we live in.”

There are over 88,000 children and adults who depend on the publicly funded mental health system, according to the MHLN.

With the need to physically isolate in our homes at this time, this means that in-person therapy, club houses, support groups, day treatment, partial hospitalization programs have closed.

Children with serious mental illnesses are not in school receiving the structure, support and mental health treatment that they need. It also means that the supports that are provided to people in their homes are no longer available.

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The following day treatment programs are closing:

  • St David’s Center is closed through March 27.
  • Catholic Charities Day Treatment closed through March 27.
  • Northwood Children’s Services Day Treatment suspended until public schools open.
  • Therapeutic Services Agency day treatment suspended until public schools open.
  • Lighthouse Child & Family Services suspended through March 27.
  • Wilder Day Treatment closed through March 31.

“Our already fragile mental health system could collapse if steps are not taken by the legislature,” according to the MHLN. “This includes allowing telehealth/telemedicine delivery of mental health services to be done by phone.”

Now is the time to look at how we keep children and adults with mental illnesses safely at home during this crisis. Here is a list of some resources for people struggling with their mental health during this time:

• Call the warm line at 651-288-0400 or text “Support” to 85511 or call 844-739-6369
• Call the local crisis team at **CRISIS or click here for the county numbers
• Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Use the Crisis Lifeline by texting MN to 741741
• Call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
• Online support groups at namimn.org
• Learn more about providers http://www.FastTrackerMN.org

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For more information or questions, contact Sue Abderholden, co-chair of the MHLN Network and executive director of NAMI Minnesota. Cell 651-440-3829. E-mail sabderholden@namimn.org