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By Whitney Ball, Marketing and Outreach Manager at Mental Health America

As all of us across the country hunker down in our homes to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, first responders continue to risk their own lives to provide much-needed support. If you are working on the frontlines and showing up to work every day to keep us safe, thank you! You are indeed an inspiration. Due to this worldwide pandemic, we know you are facing all sorts of challenges and unprecedented stress. It's a lot to take on right now, and there's no doubt that it's taxing on your mental health. As you continue to show up and help others during this overwhelming time, we want to encourage you to take care of your own wellbeing. Below, you will find a few ways to support your mental health and free resources for frontline first responders.

Try a meditation

Taking a moment to yourself to breathe during these challenging times can help support your overall mental health. The meditation app, Headspace, wants to help you make this possible. Their free COVID-19 resource, Weathering the Storm, offers meditations, sleep support, and movement exercises to help you out, however you're feeling. 

Talk to someone

As this global crisis forces you to confront challenges you've never faced before, it's safe to say you have a lot on your plate. Talking about what you're dealing with can help you to process all your emotions. Warmlines are a great, free resource to utilize. These hotlines are run by peers who have faced their mental health challenges and are ready to lend you a listening ear. You can find a state-by-state listing of warmlines online. Wysa, a mental health application that offers mental health chat support, is also providing frontline workers a free month of their premium mental health tools. You can get an access code on their website.

Move your body

Not only does exercise support your overall health, but it also has excellent benefits for your mental health. Taking time to move your body can help you cope with all the additional stress you are facing on the frontlines. Several fitness companies are making it easy to exercise right from your house, and many are offering free classes and extended trials. From online yoga to cardio classes, there is something for everyone. Bustle pulled together a list of 24 free live stream workout options, and some of the companies listed are even offering memberships to frontline workers.

Take a mental health screen

With all the chaos you are currently facing, it's reasonable to deal with all sorts of new emotions. If you are feeling off or overwhelmed, but aren't sure why, Mental Health America's free, confidential screening tools are a great place to start. Checking in on your mental health is especially important as you navigate this crisis. Our screenings can help you get a better picture of your overall mental health. Upon completion of your screening, you will be directed to additional free resources and support.

We know that focusing on your wellbeing might feel like a luxury right now, but the current stress you are facing can significantly impact your mental health. However, taking a moment for yourself, whenever you can find it, can help you continue to fight on the front lines and avoid burnout. While this current crisis can feel overwhelming, stressful, and even lonely, know that we are grateful for the sacrifice you continue to make, and we want to support you