Mental Health Resources
It is never a bad time to think about your mental health! Your year with AmeriCorps can sometimes involve great joy and also significant levels of stress. Therapy is good for both making it through crises, as well as a preventative measure before things can get too challenging. So pretty much anytime. (:
Many people (especially AmeriCorps members) do not engage in mental health services because they think that it will be way too expensive on a living allowance. In fact, there are actually a lot of no-cost and low-cost options out there, including a new program called the Member Assistance Program (see below) that provides 24/7 telephonic assistance for members whenever you may need it.
Please always feel free to reach out to Lizzie or I, if you have any questions about the resources below or just want to talk about any concerns that you may have. We are here for you!
Our members have a huge range of mental health needs, and we don't think we could begin to tap into the major resources out there to help members to address mental health. The list of resources below are meant to be a starting point for members to know where to go for mental health resources in town and online.
TELEPHONE AMERICORPS MEMBERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (new for Fall 2020)
1 800 451 1834
CTEP has enrolled in a special benefit for CTEP members that provides 24/7 (anytime day or night) 365 days a year telephonic counseling support with Master's level counselors. The number to call is 1 800 451 1834.
All you need to do after you call is mention that you are part of the Community Technology Empowerment Project, or that you are part of Saint Paul Neigbhorhood Network. Counselors can provide support for emotional or stress related problems, work life balance, family problems, financial difficulties, anxiety, grief counseling, addiction abuse, problems related to work, and also includes life coaching and medical advocacy. There is also a phone app that you can download which gives you access to a plethora of health related resources. All calls are completely confidential, and CTEP/AmeriCorps staff have no way of knowing who or what kind of support individuals are receiving.
Another interesting aspect is that this program is available not only to you, but also to household family members.
This specific service is not about creating a relationship with a same counselor over time, but this person can provide in the moment advice and may also be able to refer you to resources close by. This can be both being in crisis as well as preventative measures, big and small. Life coaching can be with the same person for multiple interactions. And it is all free to CTEP members!
You may not know this, but many health insurance providers in Minnesota now cover a certain amount of therapy or counseling services. Please check in with your insurance and see if you can find mental health resources that are covered in your network. You may want to find a therapist on the Psychology Today website. Search for practitioners by geographic location or by specialty area.
If your insurance doesn't cover counseling/therapy services then please check out the Allina Partners Care plan. Allina Partners Care Program, established to assist patients who do not qualify for Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care (MN) or BadgerCare (WI) and whose annual incomes are at or below 275 percent of the federal poverty level. One CTEP Member who signed up for this told staff: "I applied back in April and was approved within a month and have been seeking mental health and general practitioner help at no cost to me since then." Here is the application. It requires:
- copy of current insurance card, if you have one
- clear photocopies of bank statements, stocks/bonds, CDs, money market accounts
- a complete monthly statement. It must include your name, institution name, all transactions, a current balance and a date
- copies of the 2 most recent pay stubs or employer statement listing 2 months of pay (if employed)
- previous year’s federal tax return
EMERGENCY SERVICE AND WALK-IN CLINICS
If things ever seem so bad that you fear harming yourself or others, or you simply must talk to a professional immediately, there are several walk-in clinics at any nearby hospital. Some members have benefitted from a walk-in, phone and online counseling resource in the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis.
Crisis Hot-lines: Many hospitals and clinics offer walk in counseling throughout the Twin Cities, but if those are not available and you need to talk to someone immediately, you may call any number of hot-lines.
There are some notable community clinics that are accustomed to working with Medical Assistance or other various insurance options and provide mental health services. In Minneapolis these include: Whittier Clinic & Northpoint Health and Wellness Center. In St. Paul United Family Medicine is another good option.
There are scores of ways to bring breathing and meditation into your life. Plenty of Yoga studios and other spiritual centers around the Twin Cities integrate or teach mediation. However, if you would like some resources to help your practice meditation at home here are a few resources from leaders in the field:
- Jon Kabat-Zinn is the father of the Mindfulness Stress Reduction field of meditation. Here is a link on Amazon to his most popular CD of guided meditations. Also available for free on YouTube.
- Rod Stryker : Yoga Nidra Guided Meditations can be done laying down before falling asleep.
GETTING THROUGH AMERICORPS
National Service Stress Survival Guide
Provides facilitator guide and training materials to help national service programs combat stress. Group and individual exercises provide opportunities for self-assessment, reflection, and educational interaction. Includes handouts, self-tests, stress-reducing exercises, a resource list for participants, and a brief section called Getting Things Done Without Burning Out.
The 5 Stages of AmeriCorps
Remember, that you are probably dealing with struggles that many other AmeriCorps members are going through, and while your struggles are unique, those struggles may be peaking at the same time as other members.
MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS
There's no quick fix to managing anxiety or stress in the workplace, but these two very short articles from the Mayo Clinic that address: Coping with Stress: Managing Anxiety in the Workplace & how to recognize and what to do about job burn out.
Compassion fatigue, or the gradual loss of compassion over time, can be likened to burn out. If you are already feeling burned out (or would like to offer this to your organization) you may want to check out the Compassion Fatigue Workbook. Get a couple of training hours for it (first reach out to CTEP staff) and feel free to do send CTEP staff a private reflection if you would prefer not to post a public reflection.
Everyone’s service year can be stressful. However, if you have struggled with alcoholism in the past, or currently do, you may want to use the Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Locator to find support near you. There are a whole range of additional resources and programs in the Twin Cities.