It Was Already Hard, Then it Got Worse: Resources for Coping Right Now

With air quality so unhealthy with wildfire smoke, and a continuing pandemic, how can you cope? (mikito.raw/Pexels)

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It's been a week. A month. A year.

Even before wildfires devastated large parts of our home state, we were all dealing with a lot.

Most notably, a pandemic that continues to kill and sicken so many nationwide, and that's turned our lives upside down. And much more besides.

If you're feeling the strain right now, you're in no way alone. So we compiled a list of KQED's most useful, expert-verified resources and advice posts, for you to use and potentially share with your community.

Don't find what you're looking for? Tell us what we can do to support you right now.

Where to Find Affordable, Culturally Competent Therapy in Bay Area and Beyond

We have resources on finding culturally competent therapy that's affordable (Gender Spectrum Collection/Broadly)

As KQED's Nastia Voynovskaya writes in this guide, "As if being human in a world rife with systemic racism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, environmental destruction and labor exploitation wasn’t already hard enough, the global pandemic and attendant economic crisis are making things that much more difficult for everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us."

If you're seeking professional support, or need extra assistance right now,  consult the list of affordable and culturally competent therapy services and directories, as well as crisis hotlines. This guide focuses on low-cost and sliding scale practices, and how to find a therapist of color.

For further reading/listening: "You’re OK, I’m Not: Black Men and Therapy" from podcast Truth Be Told.

Specific Advice for Managing Anxiety in the Age of... Well, Everything

Amid so many stressors, how can you safeguard your mental health? (Loannes Marc/Pexels)

We consulted experts on anxiety and stress management for these concrete tips on how to cope when it feels like you can't take any more of what 2020 has to throw at you. Everyone's situation and personal stressors are different, of course. But hopefully these ideas can provide at least some ways of working with your experiences and emotions, including:

  • Why it's actively harmful to "put on a brave face"
  • Why you should learn to talk to yourself in the same voice you talk to friends with
  • How to channel positivity in a way that doesn't feel fake

Further reading/listening: "Holding on to Joy" from podcast Truth Be Told.

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Be Sure to Protect Your Body From Wildfire Smoke

3M brand N95 particulate respirators are displayed on a table on July 28, 2020 in San Anselmo, California.
3M brand N95 particulate respirators are displayed on a table on July 28, 2020 in San Anselmo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
As if working to reduce your personal risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19 wasn't enough to preoccupy you, you've now got another very real threat to your lungs to consider: Wildfire smoke. The danger that unhealthy air quality poses to everyone affects everyone, so take the necessary steps protect your body's health while you're taking care of your mental wellbeing:

Further reading: How you can directly support vulnerable groups that can't escape the smoke outside right now, including unhoused people.

Find Resources (and Comfort) for Parents and Caregivers

Find a wealth of educational support from Mindshift, including ASL resources for Deaf students (Motion Light Lab/YouTube)

With the start of the school year and the demands of supporting kids through remote, parents and caregivers are stretched beyond belief right now. And that's not even including how to explain to a child why the sky being smoky and dark doesn't mean the world is ending. If that's you, you might find the following helpful:

Tell Us: How Can We Further Support You?

This post has been updated.