Mental Health Systems During COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mental Health Systems is dedicated to supporting the mental health needs of those in need. This web page has been created to assist those who are facing mental health challenges related to the current situation, as well as to serve as a resource for their family, friends and loved ones.

For more than 40 years, Mental Health Systems has been a leader in offering statewide services addressing mental health, substance abuse, housing, veteran needs and recovery. We are a nonprofit organization with 80 programs across eight California counties, serving 14,000 clients on a daily basis.

If you are in need or have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at our new toll-free line: 833-283-3936

We pledge to be with you for every step of the way.


Mental Health and COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly and forcefully disrupted the lives of many people who have experienced job loss or who are feeling the strain of social distancing. This has triggered feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as concerns about the virus itself. As a result, people are at risk for increased depression and alcohol-drug use.

Mental Health Tips

Stress and anxiety impact people in many different ways and degrees. Some typical indicators of stress may include:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems

Here are some strategies you can use to help cope with stress:

  • Take time out from following the news, as this can create heightened feelings of anxiety
  • Try to eat healthy and balanced meals
  • Take deep breaths and try meditation
  • If you are already at risk for mental health issues, continue your medications
  • Talk to others

Consider reaching out to health care professionals if you experience the following:

  • You find it difficult to function or get out of bed for several days
  • If you already are at risk for mental health issues and notice new or more severe symptoms

How Friends and Families Can Help

Find ways to connect

Even though we are practicing social distancing, you can still reach out to others through a range of communications channels:

  • Telephone/Video chat
  • Email/Text
  • Letters
  • Social media

Be their advocate:

  • Obtain a current list of their medications: Help them, if needed, to make sure they have sufficient supplies
  • Stock up on non-perishable food: This ensures they have food at hand
  • Be prepared to reach out to their medical providers: Make sure you have information on hand to reach out for help, if needed

Also, as an advocate for your loved one, do your best to take care of your own emotional health and look after your own health.


How Mental Health Systems Can Help

Mental Health Systems provides over 80 broad-ranging programs that offer safety-net services across eight California counties. We are dedicated to unlocking the potential and improving the lives of anyone struggling with mental health, substance use disorder and lack of affordable housing. We offer the following services:

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Prevention and education
  • Case and medication management
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Residential housing during treatment
  • Programs designed to rebuild the lives of women, children and communities impacted by substance abuse and mental illness
  • Programs serving children, adolescents, elderly, veterans and active military
  • Homeless services and treatments including housing and transition storage
  • Vocational resources supporting clients’ education and employment
  • In-custody treatment services for offenders under federal, state and county jurisdiction

For a full list of services, visit our Programs page.

Accessing MHS Services

MHS has launched a 24-hour, toll-free service available to anyone dealing with the COVID-19 crisis: 833-283-3936.

Your call is free and confidential. MHS is here to help provide the compassionate guidance and resources you’re looking for.

MHS Safety Protocols

We have established protective protocols to do our part in ensuring the health and security of our clients, employees and community partners.

MHS is following guidance from the CDC, as well as state and regional authorities while putting into place new and improved ways of serving the communities and clients who depend on our programs. Client care is critical during these times, and we have adopted protocols to reduce direct exposure to our clients and staff using measures such as pre-visit health checks and telehealth.


COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 is an illness affecting the lungs and airways that can spread from person to person. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What are the symptoms?

Those who have contracted the illnesses have reported symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear 12-14 days after being exposed.

If you experience trouble breathing, continued pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion and bluish lips or face, these are emergency warning signs and you should seek medical attention immediately.

How is it spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact in respiratory droplets created from someone who is infected by coughing, sneezing or talking.

It also may be possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly ears.

It is also important to note that some people who have the virus have no symptoms but are still able to spread it.

Who is high risk?

Older adults (65+) and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, asthma serious heart conditions, diabetes, liver disease and those who are immunocompromised are also at higher risk.

How can I prevent getting it?

The best way to prevent getting the virus is to avoid being exposed to it. You should practice the following preventative actions to limit your exposure.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home as much as possible and if you have to go out, put distance, at least 6 feet, between yourself and others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when in public
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
  • Follow guidance from public health officials

Is there a vaccine or treatment?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and there is no specific antiviral treatment. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help ease symptoms.

Additional Resources

California Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

California Government

San Diego County

California Government Emotional Health Resources

CDC Stress and Coping