Self-care and Reliable Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. In one way or another, we are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation.
Our science tells us that sometimes children and adults experience increased difficulties during times of crisis, and that many children and adults can also manage crisis situations with minimal difficulties. Indeed, children and adults often discover strengths in themselves and others and manage well in times of crisis, finding strengths that might have gone unnoticed previously.
We offer a few thoughts below. Each week, we’ll expand upon each of these points to provide you with five practical tips and ideas. Check back weekly for tips and updates!

1. Parents, providers, and other adults need to take care of themselves. You will be better able to take care of others if you are healthy, safe, and able to manage stress during these challenging times. Tips for self-care:

a. Make taking care of yourself a priority. If you are suffering, you will be less able to help your children through this challenging period.
b. Stay healthy and take care of your body. Try to eat well, get some exercise, sleep well, and address physical illness.
c. Social support is important. During this time of “social distancing” you can still stay connected with people in your life using phone, texts, emails, FaceTime or other ways of connecting. Reaching out to friends and family can provide support and keep you connected with others.
d. You can’t do it all by yourself. Asking others for help and support is not a sign of weakness, rather getting some help can make things go smoother for you and your family. Having others help by reading stories or engaging in activities with your children through online tools can also make a difference when kids are “sheltering at home” and can’t attend school or other activities.
e. Build in time for yourself. Finding some time to relax, enjoy a moment, or accomplish something you want to do is important for taking care of yourself. It may feel like there is no time; but taking time to take care of yourself can make you more effective at taking care of others, which can save time overall.
f. Show yourself compassion. Doing your best to follow your normal routines is an accomplishment. Give yourself credit for doing everyday tasks like doing the laundry and cooking meals for your family during this difficult time.
g. Focus on what you can control at this time. Worrying about when schools may reopen or the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 are things outside of your control. Instead try to spend time thinking about things you can directly influence at this time, such as what your family is going to do together this evening.
h. Contact your health or mental health care provider or a national help line if you need care.

i. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service). Open 24 hours every day. TTY: 1-800-799-4889
ii. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Help available 24 hours every day at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); TTY: 1-800-487-4889
iii. 911 for emergency medical care

2. Manage information and get information from reliable sources.

a. While you do want to be informed, a constant stream of bad news can be stressful.
b. Rely on information from reliable sources. For information on COVID-19 and/or wellness, accurate information can be obtained from:

Care for LGBTQ+ Youth

LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) youths suffer from high rates of suicide and self-harm behavior. The UCLA-Duke ASAP Center, a Partner in the NCTSN, has developed a new tip sheet on clinical care strategies for these youths. Click here to see tip sheet and other information.

Drs. Asarnow and Ougrin Led World Suicide Prevention Day Webinar

Last month, Drs. Joan Asarnow and Dennis Ougrin led a webinar with The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and in partnership with the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Association of Health Care Journalists. This webinar focused on “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” for World Suicide Prevention Day 2019. To learn more and view the presentation slides click here.

Rise in Psychiatric ED Visits among U.S. Youth

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) posted an article underscoring the need to identify and address mental health concerns among youth in the U.S. Psychiatric emergency department (ED) visits have increased by 28% among youth aged 6-24 from 2011 to 2015. The likelihood for a psychiatric ED visit increased over time for adolescents and young adults, especially among females and racial and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, the likelihood for suicide-related visits among adolescents increased over time. In the wake of these findings, the SPRC urges care providers to examine mental health treatment access and options for youth.

For more information, click here.

The FCC Plans to Establish a Three-Digit Suicide Prevention Hotline Number

Suicide rates continue to rise in the United States, and people who are struggling with suicide deserve easier access to support. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, has announced plans to establish a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. In response to the staff recommendation in 2018, the FCC aims to prevent suicide and suicide attempts by improving access to crisis call centers. The current suicide prevention hotline number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The three-digit hotline number will likely be 9-8-8.

Click here to read more.

Dr. Asarnow’s Plenary on Suicide Prevention at the 2019 NIMH Outreach Partnership Program

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Outreach Partnership Program featured a Plenary on Suicide Prevention. Dr. Joan Asarnow, ASAP Center Director, presented on: Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm and Youth. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide initiative aimed at getting science-based information to communities across the country. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are represented through the 55 NIMH Outreach Partners.

See presentation slides here.

Drs. Asarnow, Goldston & Miranda Lead ICRC-S Webinar

This month, the ASAP Center’s Drs. Asarnow, Goldston, and Miranda led a webinar with the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S). This webinar focuses on “Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Promoting Treatment Strategies that Enhance Family and Social Connectedness.” To learn more and watch the presentation online, click here.

Webinar on Linked Suicide and Opioid Crises

On Thursday, April 18 (11:30-1:00pm PST), the ASAP Center’s Dr. David Goldston will be participating in a webinar hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This webinar will focus on the connected suicide and opioid crises. Interested in joining? Register here!



Dr. Asarnow & Other Experts Discuss Link Between Concussions & Suicide

This month, a new article came out in Healio, focusing on the link between concussions and suicide. Check out the article here to see what experts, including the ASAP Center’s Dr. Joan Asarnow, have to say about this important public health issue.

The ASAP Center’s Dr. Angela Tunno Presents at Resilient Kids Conference

This month, the ASAP Center’s Dr. Angela Tunno presented her work on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed mental health services at the Resilient Kids Conference in Greenville, North Carolina. To learn more, click here.