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  • Shannon Wright

COVID 19 Wellness Resources

Updated: May 17, 2021

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 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.

Dealing with Grief and Loss:

  • Managing Bereavement around the Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • COVID Toolkit Grief Resources from NADSP (National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals)

    • 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:

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.

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