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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released the COVID-19 community readiness toolkit to help individuals find mental and behavioral health supports and resources in their communities.

The toolkit, COVID-19 Community Readiness: Helping Meet Needs for Persons Living with Behavioral Health Issues, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, and Traumatic Brain Injuries, provides resources to the public for a variety of mental health needs, including resources for parents engaging in online-school, family-based needs, resources for those within the intellectual and developmental disabilities community and others.

“These are unprecedented, stressful times, and we know families and individuals are being faced with existing and new mental health challenges,” said Victor Armstrong, ‪director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services. “We want to provide North Carolinians with this toolkit to give them all the support they need to navigate these difficult times to stay healthy physically and mentally.”

The uncertainty of the pandemic, worry of getting sick, economic stresses and increased isolation for many people has led to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. According to the mid-2020 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 53 percent of adults in the United States reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resources provided in this toolkit are not all inclusive of every support available in the state, but many services and supports community stakeholders can utilize to help provide assistance to individuals and families needing mental health and substance use services in North Carolina are provided. The toolkit also contains information and tips about monitoring behavior, managing stress and overcoming stigma surrounding mental health, including self-stigma.

The toolkit is available at files.nc.gov/covid/documents/DMHDDSAS-Community-Stakeholders-Toolkit.pdf, and more resources for families and children, including 24/7 hotlines, can be found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/wellness-resources.

The toolkit was created by the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services in partnership with the NCDHHS Historically Marginalized Populations Behavioral Health Workgroup.

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