Mental Health Resources

Disease outbreaks such as the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can bring stress and increased levels of fear and anxiety. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created this resource related to mental health and coping during COVID-19.


The Employee Assistance Counseling Center (EACC) is available to offer emotional support to faculty and staff and has increased available services during this stressful period. The Student Counseling Center provides mental and emotional well-being resources for students. In addition, mental health resources are collected on the UAB Coronavirus website. If you are experiencing a crisis, call 911, call the Birmingham Crisis Line at 205-323-7777 or text “UAB” to 741-741 to text with a crisis counselor.

 

Who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis?

  • People who have preexisting mental health conditions, including problems with substance use.
  • Children.
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, including doctors and other health care providers.

What are some signs of distress?

Here is a self-check list to recognize distress: 

  • Increased anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed. 
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify. 
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased work performance. 
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future. 
  • Sudden anger and disruptive behaviors or noticeable changes in personality. 
  • Sleep difficulties. 
  • Excessive crying. 
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations. 
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors). 

How will people react to the stress of an infectious disease outbreak?

Reactions can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

What should people who have existing mental health conditions do during this time?

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms.

How can people cope with stress and support themselves during this time?

  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties of the future. 
  • Maintain your day-to-day normal activities and social outlets as it follows guidance from the CDC, particularly when it comes to social distancing. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself from the support and caring that others can provide. 
  • Seek accurate information from the CDC and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information. 
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports. 
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals, national medical authorities and your own medical doctor. 
  • Practice calming rituals: 
    • Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening. 
    • Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness exercises can help. 
  • Download the myStrength app. Call or email the UAB Employee Assistance Counseling Center for your access code. The app is free and confidential for UAB employees.
  • Take care of your body by getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep, eat healthy meals, take deep breaths and stretch. Meditation may also help.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Take breaks from the news, make time to unwind and do activities you normally enjoy.
  • Maintain positive thinking.
  • Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other and know when and how to seek help.

Who can I call for help in dealing with anxiety and stress during this time?

If you are experiencing a crisis, call 911, call the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255), call the Birmingham Crisis Line at 205-323-7777 or text “UAB” to 741741 to text with a crisis counselor.

UAB Students

UAB Student Health Services remains open, but anyone who suspects that they might be contagious should call first — 205-934-3580 during regular hours or 205-934-3411 after hours to page the provider on call.

The Student Counseling Services facility is closed to students; counselors are working remotely

  • Counselors will not be providing counseling sessions, but will be providing transition plans, case management, referral, and monitoring for students who are current clients.
  • Students with scheduled appointments will be contacted by their counselor and should send a portal message to their counselor verifying the number they want to be reached. Students may cancel scheduled appointments through the patient portal.
  • Students requesting assistance may call the office at 205-934-5816 during business hours (8 – 5) and will be able to leave a voice mail. Calls will be returned by a staff member the same or next business day.
  • Students experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis should follow the steps listed here.
  • Students may continue to send portal messages to their counselors. Counselors will respond within 24 business hours. Portal messaging is not for crisis or emergency situations.

The UAB Student Counseling Services facility is closed to students; counselors are working remotely.

  • Counselors will not be providing counseling sessions, but will be providing transition plans, case management, referral, and monitoring for students who are current clients.
  • Students with scheduled appointments will be contacted by their counselor and should send a portal message to their counselor verifying the number they want to be reached. Students may cancel scheduled appointments through the patient portal.
  • Students requesting assistance may call the office at 205-934-5816 during business hours (8 – 5) and will be able to leave a voice mail. Calls will be returned by a staff member the same or next business day.
  • Students experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis should follow the steps listed here.
  • Students may continue to send portal messages to their counselors. Counselors will respond within 24 business hours. Portal messaging is not for crisis or emergency situations.

UAB Employees

Contact the UAB Employee Assistance & Counseling Center by calling 205-934-228, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit uab.edu/eacc. If you are calling after business hours or on the weekends, call UAB Connect at 205-934-3411 to access the EACC on-call counselor. 

If you are experiencing a crisis, call 911, call the Birmingham Crisis Line at 205-323-7777 or text “UAB” to 741-741 to text with a crisis counselor. 

What distance and telemental health services and resources are available to UAB students?

Student Mental health Support During COVID-19

UAB offers a wide array of options to support student mental health. For the most current information about services and resources to support student mental health, please visit the Student Counseling Services website at www.uab.edu/students/counseling.

TAO (Therapy Assistance Online)

Free and available to all UAB students. Through TAO’s completely self-directed, self-help app and online program, students are provided an opportunity to learn stress management, mindfulness skills, problem-solving and strategies to avoid rumination and develop more helpful thinking patterns. To sign up, go to https://thepath.taoconnect.org/.

Crisis and Emergency Resources

Students who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or another mental health emergency should call 911 or go to the UAB Emergency Department (ED), the UAB Highlands ED, or the nearest ED for immediate assistance. You may also access additional emergency and community resources here.

Distance Counseling Services

UAB Student Counseling Services is closed to in-person appointments during the UAB Limited Business Model period; however, counselors are providing counseling services remotely.

    If you are a current SCS client with a scheduled appointment in the next 2 weeks, your counselor has reached out to you by phone and/or patient portal. If you need to communicate with your counselor or cancel a scheduled appointment, use your patient portal.
    Other students requesting assistance may call our main line at 205-934-5816 and leave a message and we will return your call within 1 business day.

Additional Distance Counseling Services are available by clicking here.

Hotlines and 24-7 Support:

    Emotional Support Help Line for COVID-19 1-866-342-6892 Free access to specially trained mental health specialists to support people experiencing anxiety or stress around COVID-19.
    National Crisis Text Lin Text “UAB” to 741-741
    National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
    Birmingham Crisis Center Crisis Line 1-205-323-7777

Mental Health Apps

Numerous mental health apps exist to support and encourage positive mental health practices. Many of these are free and available for download on your device.