Coronavirus CALM

Updated May 1, 2020 with new links and videos

So much has changed since I first wrote this post...

  • Minnesota has extended our Stay at Home order until May 18.

  • Schools are distance learning.

  • Kids are home- and BORED.

  • Many parents/caregivers have lost their jobs. And, parents who still have jobs as "essential workers" are trying to figure out what to do with their kids while they are away from home.

  • People are getting sick. And, some of us have lost friends or family members.

Stress is more contagious than the Coronavirus and it may be infecting our homes RIGHT NOW.

We're stuck at home-- often in small living spaces--and bumping into each other's "personal bubbles." Single parents may feel like they can't get a break to rest and reboot.

When one or more family members has a mental health disorder, the Stay at Home mandate can be overwhelming.

We want to shout... PAUSE! TIME OUT!

But, the good news is that CALM can be contagious too! When we 1) mindfully manage our stress response, 2) use our knowledge about child development and youth mental health, 3) find/access community resources, and 4) rely on our social network.... calm feelings can spread through the whole family.

How can Ramsey County Children's Mental Health Collaborative (RCCMHC) help you?

Text us if you need connections to resources or if you just want to talk about how this whole thing is a bunch of crap and totally unfair! Our texting number is 56525.

Visit our Community Bulletin Boards-- they are updated hourly. We now have Bulletin Boards for TEENS and YOUTH! After you open the the Bulletin Board, scroll up/down and left/right to see all of these resources and more!

  • COVID-19

  • Mental Health

  • Free Food

  • Money & Other Needs

  • Fun and Free Activities

  • School ("home school")

  • Physical Health

  • Parenting & Co-Parenting

  • Job Opportunities

How are YOU doing?

Flight attendants tell us that if we experience extreme turbulance on an airplance, we need to put on our own oxygen masks first before we help others. Well, I think this Coronavirus ride is going to be bumpy for awhile... so we better strap in and activate our oxygen masks!

Anxiety is a very common mental health disorder. It's also a very normal reaction to news about a pandemic and national health emergency! We can try some of these suggestions to calm our anxiety so that we can mindfully respond to our children:

Be prepared

  • Hold a family meeting and make a plan. Feeling prepared can reduce feelings of anxiety.

  • If you have questions about COVID-19, call the Department of Health at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 from 7 am - 7 pm every day of the week.

  • Use trusted sources of health information to keep up with the rapidly changing information on COVID-19. (But, take frequent breaks from this stress!)

  • Use these ideas to plan and help kids cope.

  • Gather food or supplies that you may need. Create a list of community resources.

  • Use this RCCMHC list of mental health and basic needs resources.

  • Make sure you and your child have a supply of medications taken regularly.

Breathe (...and then do it again)

  • Use coping strategies that work for you. Find ideas in our free Family Care Binder and also listed below.

  • Lean on friends and family. Physical distancing doesn't have to mean that we lose social connectedness. Try this free app which lets kids play games and read stories through interactive video with their friends and family.

  • Register for live streaming events that focus on wellbeing. Check out this free calendar of live streaming events presented by Essence Magazine----Mama's Morning Meditation, A Message of Hope, Tackling Anxiety & Stress, or DIY Projects for You and the Kids etc.

  • Reduce your stress. Exercise. Get at least 7 hours of sleep... It actually works- even against viruses!

Try an App

  • Virtual Hope Box offers sections like: Distract Me, Inspire Me, Relax Me, and Coping Tools. Do fun activities and use mindfulness tools. Put photos, videos, messages from loved ones, inspirational quotes, and music in your Hope Box.

  • Calm has meditations, breathing exercises, master classes, music, sleep stories and calming images. RCCMHC families can try the premium version for 30 days FREE

Practice Mindful Parenting

  • After you've managed your own response, you are ready to respond to your kids. Remember--- Relax. Reflect. Respond.

  • Talk to your kids about their feelings. Let them ask questions and help them to understand. Offer comfort and support.

  • Keep family Rules, Rituals, and Routines.

  • Take advantage of this time together- do things at home that have made you and your family feel better in other stressful situations.

  • Offer distractions and opportunities for your kids (and teens!) to get their wiggles out. Our Bulletin Board has some great ideas!

  • Create your own Calm Down Toolkit.

  • Watch this video clip from the old TV Show Everybody Loves Raymond to remind yourself how to use Active Listening

Feeling Stir Crazy ?

Try one of these distractions or calm-down strategies...

  • Eat healthy foods

  • Play (or learn) an instrument (Let your child try a harmonica but encourage him or her to take ir outside or to their own room.)

  • Watch a TV show or Read

  • Get crafty- paint, art, coloring book

  • Wrap in a blanket; weighted blanket

  • Use a heat pack or cold pack

  • Write in a journal; write a letter

  • Talk on the phone (friend/family)

  • Take a medication (if-needed)

  • Go outside; take a walk

  • Do a hobby-- or, start a hobby

  • Try an online support group

  • Talk on the phone with your therapist

  • Pray, meditate, take deep breaths

  • Use a fidget

  • Bake or cook something (alone or as a family)

  • Pace or repeat movements

  • Listen to music; Sing or dance!

  • Hold a favorite stuffed animal

  • Take a bath or shower

  • Use headphones or ear plugs

  • Chew something (gum, fidget)

  • Play a game, do a puzzle or Legos

  • Snuggle or pet an animal

  • Do something nice for someone else

  • Eat a protein snack

  • Drink water or Gatorade etc.

  • Take a nap

  • Turn off phone/ social media for awhile

  • Give a hug/ get a hug; Give a massage/ get a massage

  • Do some spring cleaning- open the windows!

  • Think about something good about yourself (or, about your child etc.)

  • Soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for two minutes until its steamy. Place the towel on the back of your neck and then over your face.

  • Use a candle or essential oils- Lavender, jasmine and chamomile might help you feel relaxed.

  • Exercise, stretch, try some online yoga...

Find Ways to Laugh!

Share funny videos with your friends and family. If you don’t feel like laughing…that's ok. Try faking it. Science says that even fake laughing can improve health and reduce stress. Don't believe me? Watch the video below...

I know how tough it is...

Do you remember the old TV show, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? His words of wisdom are good for us to hear today.

  • "I know how tough it is some days to look with hope and confidence at the months and years ahead. But I would like to tell you what I told you when you were much younger- I like you just the way you are! And what's more, I'm so grateful to you for helping the children in your life to know you'll do everything you can to keep them safe and to help them express their feelings in ways that will bring healing in many different neighborhoods..." (Mr. Rogers)

If You Are Struggling

  • Call your mental health provider.

  • Visit this page to learn more about managing a mental health crisis or emergency

  • Reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness- NAMI MN- Call the warm line at 651-288-0400 or text “Support” to 85511 or call 844-739-6369

  • If you have adult mental health concerns, try the Ramsey County Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health Crisis Phone Line 651-266-7900

  • If you have child mental health concerns, try the Ramsey County Children's Crisis Response Team 651-266-7878


RCCMHC has had to cancel our in-person monthly trainings and programs but we are still here to help! In the next several days, we will be sending out text messages, posting more resources online, updating our Bulletin Board, and developing new ways to help such as online trainings and care kits.

If you need connections, resources or support-- please email us at or text your questions to 56525

Coronavirus CALM is a mindset that we can achieve together.

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