24/7 Crisis Help Line: 877-470-4668

Access to Services: 877-470-7130

Customer Services : 877-470-3195

May 21, 2020

May is Mental Health Month more important than ever with COVID-19

• May is Mental Health Month has been celebrated in the US for 49 years and mental health is more important than ever this year. Just weeks ago, we had no idea that our world was going to be turned upside down by COVID-19.

• While the annual NCCMH May is Mental Health Month Color Run/Walk and other annual events are postponed until fall this year, the agency is encouraging the community through placement of signs celebrating mental health. The sign series are located at:

  • Plaza Drive Petoskey – along Anderson Road near the corner of Anderson and Plaza Drive
  • Petoskey Club – in front of the Clubhouse along US-31
  • Kalkaska – In front of the courthouse – 625 Courthouse Drive (Birch Street) Kalkaska
  • Cheboygan – 825 Huron St. in front of the county building
  • Otsego Co. – M-32 in front of the county building (May move in a week to closer to NCCMH location)
  • Rapid City – 7167 Rapid City Road – in front of the New Horizons Clubhouse
  • Bellaire – 203 E. Cayuga St. – in front of the county building
  • Charlevoix – 6250 M-66 in front of the NCCMH building


COVID-19 is impacting the mental health of literally every American. While many people with mental health and intellectual/developmental disabilities regularly experience social isolation and loneliness, many others are impacted this year too.

Stroll through a PhotoVoice exhibit to view poignant photographs and interpretive captions created from personal experiences. PhotoVoice is a series of group conversations about life experiences and ways of coping with mental health issues to bring greater awareness to the community. See NCCMH’s PhotoVoice virtual exhibit on www.norcocmh.org. The exhibit is also virtually hosted by libraries in Alden, Charlevoix and Petoskey in celebration of May is Mental Health Month.

Getting Help for Stress, Anxiety, Depression

  • Stress, anxiety and depression are higher this year for most people.
  • The theme of May is Mental Health Month 2020 is “Tools 2 Thrive,” with practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency. We can all benefit by boosting our resiliency.
  • NCCMH is sharing five “Tools 2 Thrive” on its newly launched website at www.norcocmh.org— creating healthy routines, finding the positive, owning your feelings, supporting others, and eliminating toxic relationships.
  • Dr. Stacey Chipman, NCCMH Chief Clinical Officer, advises people to reach out through the NCCMH Warm Help Line or Crisis Line if they are having difficulty. It is important to act early as a preventative before feelings become an overwhelming emergency.
  • Increased stress and anxiety related to the current COVID-19 outbreak is normal and expected.
  • While we are hard-wired to like certainty and protect ourselves when things feel threatening, we can feel anxious when we can’t control what is going on around us. You may notice that you are more frustrated with others or have trouble focusing. You may feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless, or sad.
  • Coping skills for dealing with uncertainty will be important. The movement back to pre-COVID will be tenuous and will not occur in a straight line.
  • There are several things people can do to support themselves and keep coronavirus fears from affecting their mental health.
  • Remember that we can always choose our response. If you feel stressed, challenge yourself to stay in the present. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Separate what is in your control from what is not. Focus on what you can do. Do what helps you to be calm. It’s different for everyone.
  • NCCMH’s Warm Help Line for anyone in the community – act early, reach out to talk and prevent a mental health crisis. 877-470-7130
  • NCCMH’s 24/7 Crisis Line for anyone – 877-470-4668 NCCMH COVID-19 Response
  • Christine Gebhard, NCCMH Chief Executive Officer, describes NCCMH’s response to COVID-19:
  • Services and supports have continued throughout the pandemic although the manner has changed from primarily face-to-face, office-based contacts to telehealth and telephone, and community-based as needed.
  • 100% of staff are working remotely.
  • Grateful for special billing codes to allow for telehealth, hope they will be continued permanently in order to increase access to service, especially in rural areas.
  • Programs which had to close have continued support
  • Clubhouses in Petoskey and Rapid City have continued outreach by phone, Facebook, and other technology; staff also regularly deliver food.
  • Reopening of the offices
  • Strategy is being developed to align with Governor’s reopening stages, will vary by program and type of service.