During this challenging time as we all focus on our physical health, we must also be aware of our mental health. The emotional and mental effects of this pandemic can be especially difficult for those already coping with mental health conditions and substance abuse issues. These Hoosiers are not alone. There are many free resources available to help.

Mental health professionals say social distancing and staying home takes a toll on our mental well-being. Hoosiers who have preexisting or previously diagnosed mental health conditions are encouraged to contact their providers and discuss their options and services to stay healthy right now.

Help is also a phone call away with the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which are available 24/7 and provide immediate crisis counseling to callers.

For those in recovery from substance abuse, social distancing can intensify addiction issues because of the lack of access to their usual healthy coping methods. Anyone struggling can reach out to the Indiana Addiction Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for referrals for treatment at state-approved agencies and connections to support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Some local groups offer virtual meetings for Hoosiers to continue receiving this service from trained recovery coaches.

Hoosiers can also call 211 to connect with these resources or need assistance finding other help.

We could all benefit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggestions for coping with stress, including keeping a routine, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying connected with family and friends. Technology can keep us in touch with each other like never before. For those who may be struggling, a video chat or phone call can go a long way. More information about managing stress is available at

Please keep in mind that it is normal to feel anxious or stressed during this time. But if those feelings become overwhelming, please take advantage of the resources around you. There are trained professionals ready and willing to help. As we focus on our physical health, we must also be aware of our mental health. And remember, we are in this together.