By Megan Kelley
As schools and businesses face statewide shutdowns and residents are forced to socially distance and self-quarantine to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, many are scrambling to maintain healthy habits and strong mental health.
The North Oakland Community Coalition is working to provide resources to local residents and students who are stuck at home in near isolation.
“Like everyone in the Township right now, we are just tying to do everything we can to make sure we’re covering the needs of our community,” said Tonya Hamilton, Executive Director of the NOCC. “Right now we’re focusing pretty heavily on the isolation factor that will be coming from COVID and recognizing that the isolation, stress and anxiety can lead to mental health issues and substance abuse issues including in our teens and young children.”
Due to these unprecedented times, the NOCC is approaching this situation in a variety of ways which includes programs that are designed to engage the community.
One of these such programs is the Quality Time (QT) Challenge. The QT Challenge encourages families to share their bonding time throughout photos using the hashtag #NOCCQT. Share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card from a local restaurant. Winners will be chosen every Friday.
Not only does this promote family time, but also helps out a local business during this difficult time.
Additionally, the NOCC is working out how to engage students via the NOCC Zoom account.
“I recognize that most of our students are doing anything they can with their cell phones and their tablets to stay connected via social media but we need to find a way that we can utilize the online resources to bring them together in a more structured group,” Hamilton said. “It’s great that they’re staying in communication via social media, one-on-one or in small groups but maybe we can create more of a structured online gathering that feels more like a classroom or more like a community event where they feel like, ‘okay, I’ve done something today.’”
High School students can register to partake in Dragon Zoom where they will discuss a variety of topics Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Topics range from relaxing and playing some games to a Q&A session with a certified mindfulness instructor.
“We’re making sure, first of all, that we post the hotline for emotional distress, the suicide hotline…links to online AA meetings and Narcotics Anonymous meetings where people can access that stuff at home rather than having to physically attend a meeting,” Hamilton said. “We’re both developing and sharing a lot of content we’re finding from reliable sources that give parents tips on how to engage with their children, how to explain this pandemic to their children. We’re including resources for seniors on how to engage with other seniors remotely.”
The NOCC is continually adding resources to their website www.noccmi.org and resources are expected to also be shared on the Lake Orion Cares Facebook page.
If you are in immediate need of mental and emotional support or recovery resources, please contact Narcotics Anonymous Hotline: (800-230-4085), Alcoholic’s Anonymous: (510-839-8900) or Crisis Text Line: (Text HELP to 741741), Hamilton said.
Other resources include:
• North Oakland Community Coalition: 248-520-3786
• SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-989-5990
• Oakland County Youth Mobile Crisis Line: 877.800.1650 online: www.newoakland.org
• Common Ground: 800-231-1127
• Orion Township Help Line: 248-391-0304 X3507
• SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline: Call or text 1-800-989-5990
This week and on, the NOCC is working to find ways to reach members of the community who do not have access to the internet and is also asking for help from the community in identifying these needs.
If you’re able to volunteer or have any ideas that will help the NOCC with their messaging, email Tonya Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.