Dear Reader, 

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the country, the focus on behavioral and mental health care has followed behind it quickly. 

Below are some things that highlight community and that even when we're apart, we're still in this together. 

If there are additional resources or services for mental health care you want to share or if you want to share how you are taking care of your mental health, please email me at 

I will be postponing our #IAm1in5 Facebook Live Chats and office hours for now.

—Camalot K. Todd 

The New York Office of Mental Health launched a unique Emotional Support Helpline to help with the mental health impacts of COVID-19. So far, more than 6,000 mental health professionals signed up to provide free online mental health services in New York. 

“I can see how New Yorkers are treating one another. I see the 6,000 mental health volunteers. I see the 40,000 health care workers stepping up. I see the vendors calling me, saying, I can help,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference. “That's New York. And that, my friends, is undefeatable."

Spectrum News Buffalo aired several short, but informative stories with Crisis Services Executive Director Jessica Pirro. Crisis Services operates a 24-hour 7-day hotline at 716-834-3131 or visit their website.

My favorite tip Pirro gives is in the Tips To Cope With Anxiety From COVID-19 is to listen to your favorite music.

Right now as I think of all my family and friends out West, I’ve been listening to “All Around You” by Sturgill Simpson.

Even though I don’t know when I’ll be able to see them again, the song gives me comfort and hope especially these lyrics: “There will be nights that go on forever/Like you're long-lost at sea/Never to be found/Just know in your heart/That we're always together.” It reminds me that even though we’re apart right, we’re still in this together.

Speaking of hope, Spectrum News Buffalo has a new initiative happening called #ActsofKindness, where we’ll be highlighting how the WNY community came together during this pandemic. 

In addition to highlighting the acts of kindness happening in WNY, Mental Health Advocates of WNY released a mental health wellness guide highlighting local resources in the community. 

“People are feeling isolated and to know that there is somebody or someplace in your neighborhood or your community that you can rely on and turn to can also provide some comfort,” said Carol Doggett, senior director of marketing, communication and outreach at Mental Health Advocates of WNY. “We need to be community-focused.” 

For additional resources at the local, state and national level, read this.