VA Caregiver Support during COVID-19

Taking care of your well-being, including your mental health, is essential during this time. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Many people may experience stress, fear, anxiety, or feelings of depression. This is normal.

CSP-Caregiving-During-COVID-19_TipSheet-23April-2020 PDF

There are things that you can do to manage your stress and anxiety:
• If you are sick, stay home, stay away from others, stay in touch with your doctor, and avoid public transportation. Read more at
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm/sleeve or use tissues.
• Dispose of tissues in the trash.
Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects often.
• Exercise regularly, try to eat well-balanced meals, and get plenty of sleep.
• Limit alcohol.
• Practice breathing exercises and/or meditation. VA has many free mental health apps for Veterans.
• Take breaks from the news.
• Stay connected with others while practicing social distancing (see below for tips).
• Participate in activities or hobbies that you enjoy or learn a new one.
• Keep your current mental health appointments. VA offers both video and phone telemental health options that do not require you to go to your closest facility in-person should you have a medical concern or need to follow specific social distancing guidelines in your community.
• Learn ways to connect with VA providers using telehealth options and schedule or reschedule your appointment online. If you are requesting a new mental health appointment, please call your local VA and they will work to arrange an appointment for you. If you need same day access for mental health services, call your local VA to request this and you will be connected to care.

During times of social distancing, it is normal to have increased feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, or anxiety. It is important for everyone to stay connected.

Here are some ways to feel more connected:
• Seek support from family, friends, mentors, clergy, and those who are in similar circumstances. While face- to-face communication may be difficult, be flexible and creative using phone, email, text messaging, and video calls. Sign up or join a virtual social network that includes service members and Veterans.
• Keep in touch with fellow Veterans and assist them in navigating this new environment if they are having a hard time. Teach them how to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store as VA increases virtual health and mental health appointment availability.
• As a Veteran, you have been uniquely trained in emergency response situations. Your resilience and strength can assist others during these times. Connection can also happen when you give back to your community by sharing your expertise and support with family, friends, and neighbors through acts of kindness and volunteer opportunities which will arise.

Practice good self-care and remember to re-fuel:
• Get fresh air every day, even if this means opening the windows and turning on a fan.
• Drink plenty of water and eat good nutritious foods.
• Find ways to move your body, as you are able.
• Create a routine that includes getting to sleep and waking up at a reasonable time.
• Give each other emotional space and take breaks.
• Reach out for professional support, often available via phone or virtually.
• Limit the amount of time you watch COVID-19 related news stories and use reputable sources.

Caregiver Support Program Resources
Annie Caregiver Text Support* is VA’s text messaging service that promotes self-care for caregivers.
Caregivers need a phone capable of text messaging to enroll.
Building Better Caregivers* TM (BBC) is a 6-week online workshop for caregivers of Veterans of all eras who are caring for someone with dementia, memory problems, post-traumatic disorder, a serious brain injury, or any other serious injury or illness. BBC helps caregivers in two key ways: training in how to provide better care, and helping caregivers learn how to manage their own emotions, stress, and physical health.

Caregiver Education Calls* are monthly telephone education calls for caregivers with a theme of “Care for the Caregiver.” The topics change monthly and scripts and audio recordings of the calls can be found on the CSP website.
Caregiver Support Line (CSL) offers support by caring licensed professionals. The CSL, 1-855-260-3274 is available toll free 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday.

Caregiver Support Program Website contains tips, tools, videos and links to resources for caregivers of Veterans of all eras. The link is:
Peer Support Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for caregivers to receive guidance and share their experiences with a more experienced caregiver. Mentors and mentees communicate regularly for at least six months through email, telephone and letters.

Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health (REACH VA) Intervention* is an evidenced-based intervention that is delivered by VA clinical staff to provide individual support to stressed and burdened caregivers of Veterans of all eras, and those with dementia, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (MS), post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
*For more information, please contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator.

CSP-Caregiving-During-COVID-19_TipSheet-23April-2020 PDF


In a life threatening situation or medical emergency, call your doctor or 911.

CRISIS phone line:
Call 800 523-3333 or text the word “MN” to 741741

Just need to talk to someone?
Wellness in the Woods 5:pm – 9:am Daily 844-739-6369
Minnesota NAMI Warmline 4:pm – 8:pm Thur – Sun 888-334-7754
Mental Health Advocacy Minnesota Warmline 5:pm-10:pm Mon – Sat 877-404-3190

Click here for additional information

Please Click to Share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone
Posted in News & Events.