Spending way too much time on Twitter looking at the novel Coronavirus updates, I felt overwhelmed and a bit disheartened with most of the information. There was little information available about the virus itself, and when there’s little reliable information people tend to catastrophize.

The average person doesn’t read peer reviewed articles. They don’t even finish reading news articles. We have short attention spans, and don’t want to read. This is why infographics are perfect. Infographics are short, easy to read, and have visuals that help people process the information.

Unfortunately, a lot of the visuals I saw from predominant sources seemed to miss the mark. Their call to action was wash your hands and stay inside no matter what the question was. Homeless? Wash your hands. Anxious? Everyone’s anxious right now stay inside. Single parent working from home? Sing happy birthday twice as you wash your kids’ hands. I’m not discrediting their message, but it was missing the audience’s question.

Call me odd, but I love research, and I love taking large quantities of information and turning it into something that’s meaningful. I also love designing. I like taking data and turning it into something that’s relevant to the audience at hand. So, I set to work. I downloaded every single peer reviewed article I could find on Covid-19. I then downloaded Rapid Reviews, Correspondence, and Comments from scientists at reputable journals. Realizing, I was still missing crucial information, I looked at articles published about SARS, MERS, Ebola, and other pandemics to see what might be relevant. I organized the pdfs into folders based on topic and then searched for leaders in the field to fill in the gaps.

The first one I made is on mental health. 10 million people in the USA are living with a serious mental illness, but when you search for mental health and Covid-19, you get information that is for the general public experiencing anxiety, insomnia, and stress. I’m not belittling that. It’s real. However, someone who was already living with mental illness probably has it compounded, right?

Advice for someone with pre-existing mental illness should be different than advice for the general public experiencing stress during this time. I read through dozens of peer-reviewed articles, took pages of notes, that a whittled down into the main ideas, and made the first infographic in the series. If you don’t want to read the research but want to look over some easier to read articles, NAMI, APA, and SAMSHA all have great resources.

Overall, what’s the main takeaway? You may be more at risk if you are living with mental illness, but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. You may not be able to control the virus, but you can control your actions and your mindset. Reach out if you need help, but more than anything: reach out to those who may need help if you don’t. We’re all in this together.

Want to talk?

Disaster Distress Helpline

  • Call 1-800-985-5990 
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at
    1-800-985-5990
  • TTY 1-800-846-8517

En Español

  • 1-800-985-5990 oprima “2”
  • textear “Hablanos” a 66746
Infographic on how those with mental illness may be at greater risk of Covid-19. This is because individuals living with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are 2x more likely to develop pneumonia. The stay-at-home orders are particularly challenging for those with anxiety, depression, OCD, Autism, Addicition, Eating Disorders, and Bipolar Disorder. And since the begining of the pandemic crisis hotline calls have increased by 15-200%. You can stay healthy by ensuring you have enough medication, setting a routine and following it, staying in touch wiht your mental health providers through telehealth, schedule self care into your routine, join an online support group, stay in the present with mindfulness, and connect to your network. If you are not currently experiencing mental illness, make sure to reach out to those in your network who may be.

Danielle Hennis created this infographic on what individuals living with mental health can do to keep themselves safe in this time of crisis.

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