Mental Health Resources During a Pandemic

In communities across Texas, families are facing the challenges arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that creates stressors that are as unique to each individual as they are universal in their impact.

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is committed to providing factual and reliable information regarding mental health resources during this crisis. It is critical to actively focus on your mental health as well as that of those in your care. The resources here represent a great place to start.

While we are all maintaining healthy spaces right now, it’s important to preserve our social connections. MMHPI’s Okay to Say™ campaign can provide you with ideas on staying mentally healthy and supporting friends and family. Visit for more information.

We’ll keep this page current as information and guidance develop. Please check in often for the latest updates.

MMHPI is dedicated to helping Texas communities through this trying time in our history. We’ll get through this together.

General Information

Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides general tips on managing anxiety and stress during COVID-19:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Outbreak:

Harvard Medical School advice on coping with coronavirus anxiety:

For Parents and Caregivers

MMHPI - Staying Mindful of Child Development When Discussing COVID-19

MMHPI - Emotionally Managing COVID-19: A Parent and Caregiver’s Guide

Emocionalmente Manejando COVID-19: Guía de padre y cuidador

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – resources for talking to kids about coronavirus, talking about sick or lost loved ones, support for parents of kids with disabilities and includes activities for kids:

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) – Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with Coronavirus:

The Child Mind Institute has compiled resources on talking to children about COVID-19:

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) – Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource:

SAMHSA – Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation – Resources to support the physical health of children during COVID-19:

For Health Care Professionals and Providers

Texas Nurses Association and Texas Organization of Nurse Executives, developed a "Care for the Caregiver" page to help nurses before, during and after disasters.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Provider Information:

CDC – Information for Healthcare Professionals:

For Those in Need of Mental Health Services

For people with severe mental health needs, ensuring ongoing linkages to care is essential. HHSC contracts with 37 local mental health authorities (LMHAs) and two local behavioral health authorities (LBHAs) across Texas to deliver mental health services in our communities. A list of LMHAs and LBHAs in Texas can be found here:

A search for public resources by Texas county can be performed here:

HHSC – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Provider Information for People Receiving Services:

For First Responders

CDC Guidance for EMS Systems and Information for Law Enforcement including Exposure Recommendations:

The International Association of Chiefs of Police - policies for organizational readiness:

The Police Foundation dashboard to help law enforcement leaders better assess and monitor the impacts COVID-19 is having on law enforcement agencies across the United States:

Policing in a Pandemic Peer Support Webinar Series

Professional and Personal Adjustments in the New Reality of COVID19: virtual peer group discussion with Cathy and Javier Bustos of “That Peer Support Couple”

Watch Video ➝

Keep Calm and Crisis On: managing stress as a first responder with Tempa Sherill and Kimberly Parker of 22KILL

Watch Video ➝

I Will Listen: Real Talk About Real Times: law enforcement officer suicide risk reduction and stress management with Steven Hough of Blue H.E.L.P

Watch Video ➝

Maintaining optimism while keeping reality in check: an interactive discussion with Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey and Rockport Police Chief Greg Stevens

Watch Video ➝

Our Research and Analysis During the COVID-19 Pandemic

MMHPI’s policy-related work throughout this crisis is focused on the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic, while facilitating access to appropriate care within this evolving landscape. View our white papers and supplemental materials below to learn more.

COVID-19 Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Impact Series

The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute continues to examine and project the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health and substance use disorder (MHSUD) needs of Texans (and more broadly whenever possible), rapidly providing policymakers with the most relevant and accurate information available. Our intent is two-fold: to provide sound guidance and also to bring other experts and thought leaders into the discussion to refine the guidance and improve the estimates available to the field. MMHPI will be releasing a series of papers on the anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation and our understanding evolves. We will also update current documents as new information becomes available, archiving past versions for the record.

Projected COVID-19 MHSUD Impacts, Volume 1: Effects of COVID-Induced Economic Recession (COVID Recession) – April 28, 2020
MMHPI has issued the first in a series of reports analyzing the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report focuses on how an economic recession increases rates of mental health and substance use disorders (MHSUD), including deaths from suicide and substance overdoses.

Projected COVID-19 MHSUD Impacts, Volume 1: Effects of COVID-Induced Economic Recession (COVID Recession) – Appendix of State-Level Estimates, April 28, 2020
This appendix to the original report updates our original report on the effects of a COVID-19 recession with state-level projections of increases in illicit substance use as well as additional lives lost to suicide and overdose.

MMHPI COVID-19 Response Briefings

Planning Guide for County Officials Seeking to Reduce Jail Demand During Pandemic – Ten Principles to Guide Planning and Decision Making, April 7, 2020
An updated version of our March 24 briefing, which specifies 10 principles to guide local conversations and our technical assistance. This version addresses and is fully aligned with Governor Abbott’s March 29, 2020 executive order (Executive Order No. GA-13).

Personal Protective Equipment and the Behavioral Health Workforce – March 23, 2020
Our briefing that focuses on the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for the behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) workforce.

MMHPI COVID-19 Guides and Resources

Emotionally Managing COVID-19: A Parent and Caregiver’s Guide
Emocionalmente Manejando COVID-19: Guía de padre y cuidador
MMHPI and The Hackett Center for Mental Health child policy experts compiled emotional management tips for parents and caregivers, available in both English and Spanish.

MMHPI Regulatory and Reimbursement Newsletters

With federal and state health care policies changing rapidly in response to COVID-19, MMHPI is issuing these newsletters to support providers as they navigate this new terrain. In the following weekly updates, we highlight several recent changes to state and federal regulatory and reimbursement rules.

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – May 21, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – May 15, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – May 8, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – May 1, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – April 24, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – April 16, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – April 9, 2020

Letter to Providers: State & Federal Updates – April 3, 2020

Letter to Providers: Telehealth & Telephonic Care – March 26, 2020
In the first in the series, we highlight several recent changes to regulatory and reimbursement rules, particularly regarding telehealth and telephonic services.