COVID-19: Mental Health and Substance Use

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused New Yorkers stress, burnout and anxiety. As you continue to protect your health and community, it is also important to protect your mental health and to be mindful of your alcohol and substance use.

During this ongoing period of uncertainty, we all can feel overwhelmed sometimes. There are tools and support available to help you cope.

Daily Coping Tips

  • Know how stress, trauma and grief can affect how you feel:
    • Physical: Fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat and worsening of preexisting medical conditions
    • Emotional: Feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, anger and irritability
    • Mental: Confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating or making decisions
    • Behavioral: Not acting like one’s self, restlessness, argumentative and changes in eating, sleeping and substance use

  • Focus on the parts of life within your control. Keep to your routines, wear a face covering and practice physical distancing.

  • Stay connected with supportive people and communities around you.

  • Remind yourself of your strengths and how you have managed other challenging situations.

  • Download emotional support apps that can provide tools and information to help you cope.

  • To speak with a trained professional who can provide support and referrals for care, contact NYC Well or NY Project Hope.

Stress, Anxiety, Grief and Trauma

The below resources can help you ease the effects of stress and trauma.

Stress, Anxiety, Grief and Trauma Resources

Alcohol and Substance Use

Stressful events can affect the way people use substances.

People may be using alcohol and other substances to cope with trauma, grief, loss in income or boredom resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. There may also be a greater risk of overdose among people who use drugs, especially those who use heroin or other opioids.

Our resources below include strategies to help you be mindful of your use and avoid negative health effects, including overdose, during the pandemic.

Alcohol and Substance Use Resources

Suicide Prevention

Physical distancing may be harder for people who struggle with thoughts of suicide.

If you know someone who might be thinking about suicide, ask and listen. Do not be afraid to talk about suicide directly. If you or someone you know are thinking about suicide, reach out for support.

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or in immediate danger, call 911.

Suicide Resources

Health Care and Essential Workers

Health care workers and essential workers face unique stressors and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to common concerns about family, finances and social isolation, these workplace stressors can feel overwhelming and make it difficult to cope.

Health Care and Essential Worker Resources

Children and Adolescents

Children of all ages are facing disruptions to their routines, major life events and loss, such as the deaths of loved ones.

As a parent, caregiver, educator or other trusted adult, you can teach and support young people to use positive coping skills during this challenging time.

Children and Adolescents Resources

Intimate Partner Violence

We understand home is not always safe. Get information and resources to help you or a loved one experiencing dating, domestic, gender-based or family violence, including elder abuse, during COVID-19:

  • Visit NYC Hope
  • Call the City’s 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-HOPE (800-621-4673), or TTY 866-604-5350.
  • Reach out to the NYC Family Justice Centers for help with immediate safety planning, applying for public benefits, counseling and civil legal assistance, such as orders of protection. Find your nearest Family Justice Center.

Additional Resources