COVID 19 Wellness Resources
Updated: May 17
The COVID-19 pandemic has created many hardships for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the staff who care for them. Changes in routines, activities, and communication with loved ones, layered with concern for the health and well-being of self and others may have a significant impact on our emotional, social, and psychological well-being. OPWDD’s Statewide Committee on Incident Review (SCIR) recognizes that when individuals and employees experience stress and anxiety, situations that result in reportable incidents and notable occurrences are more likely to occur. It is important for all of us to attend to our mental health and the well-being of our co-workers and the people we support, to ensure positive service environments.
To support the emotional health needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), direct support professionals (DSPs), and other agency staff, the following materials are being shared as potential resources. You are encouraged to share this information throughout your agency. Encourage employees to use the resources for themselves. We also encourage that agency administration and clinicians determine the best actions to facilitate the productive use of the resources in your programs according to the specific circumstances of the individuals, staff, and their COVID-19 experience.
Please note that the resources/links identified below are provided for general informational purposes and do not reflect official policy or practice guidance or requirements by OPWDD.
OPWDD Training Resource
An online recorded training entitled Supporting the Emotional Needs of Individuals with I/DD and Direct Support Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic is available on SLMS. To enroll visit https://nyslearn.ny.gov/ you can also search OPWDD-EmotionalHealth on the ‘Find Learning’ page.
Resources for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression
New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline: 1-844-863-9314
This helpline is available 8:00 a.m. -10 p.m., 7 days a week.
NY Project Hope-Coping with COVID: https://nyprojecthope.org/
Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook: A Tool to Help You Build Resilience During Difficult Times depauw.edu/files/resources/coronavirus-anxiety-workbook.pdf
Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Context of COVID-19 ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-managing-stress-anxiety.pdf
Managing healthcare worker’s stress associated with COVID-19: ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID19ManagingStressHCW032020.pdf
Stress Management Tip Sheet: newpaltz.edu/media/idmh/covid-19/IDMH_COVID19_Community_Stress_Management_TipSheetFinal.pdf
Coping as the Pandemic Continues Tip Sheet: www.newpaltz.edu/media/idmh/covid-19/IDMH_COVID19_Continuing_Stress_TipSheet.pdf
COVID Toolkit from Stress Management Resources from NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals): https://nadsp.org/covid-19resources
COVID Fatigue article and podcast: umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2020/12/mental-health-concerns-rise-as-covid-fatigue-deepens/
Your ‘Surge Capacity’ is Depleted-It’s Why You Feel Awful article (scroll down to find): medium.com/your-surge-capacity-is-depleted-it-s-why-you-feel-awful-de
Self-care advice from the American Psychological Association: apaservices.org/practice/ce/self-care/health-providers-covid-19
Note: There are other resources available to you:
Through your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Local Mental Health providers
Mobile Applications (Apps) such as “Headspace” and “Calm”
Websites such as HelpGuide.org
Dealing with Grief and Loss:
Managing Bereavement around the Coronavirus (COVID-19): columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Managing-Bereavement-Around-COVID-19-HSPH.pdf
COVID Toolkit Grief Resources from NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals) https://nadsp.org/covid-19resources
Grief and Loss for Direct Support Professionals: This 24 min webinar discusses DSPs grieving the persons supported, not their own family or coworkers, and the different types of grief. The webinar contains relevant information tailored to DSP’s. It is not COVID specific.
Let’s Talk with Dave: When Death Happens at Work: This webinar is 55:23 mins. The webinar offers a more personal discussion regarding death in the workplace. The moderators discuss their experience with death in the field.
Helping Individuals with Disabilities Cope with Grief and Loss:
Loss Bereavement and Death: Note, this is a British resource. Use of the term “learning” disability applies to intellectual disability: thh.nhs.uk/documents/_Patients/PatientLeaflets/general/Bereavement-BILD.pdf
Managing Grief Better-People With Intellectual Disabilities: intellectualdisability.info/mental-health/articles/managing-grief-better-people-with-intellectual-disabilities
Loss and Grief within Intellectual Disability (article): researchgate.net/publication/283010367_Loss_and_grief_within_intellectual_disability
OPWDD encourages agencies to share these resources with their staff, as well as identify and recommend additional resources they feel are useful to staff and individuals.