Weekly COVID-19 update: news, resources and information

iowa department of human rights

May 8, 2020

We are here to help.

COVID-19 has affected various aspects of life for Iowa residents, communities, and businesses. Information surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and can be overwhelming. To help Iowans navigate information, the Iowa Department of Human Rights has compiled some resources about health and safety, language access, food, employment, grants, and more that we will be sending out in a weekly email. We hope these resources will help Iowans stay safe, healthy, informed, and resilient during these challenging times.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

What is "Mental Illness"?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Iowa Chapter defines mental illness as a "medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder." 

Mental illness can affect persons of any age, race, religion, income or other demographic.

Do you know someone who may need help during this time? There is help available.Visit https://namiiowa.org/find-a-nami-near-you/ to find a local NAMI chapter or https://namiiowa.org/ for more information.

NAMI Iowa also offers virtual support groups throughout the pandemic. To find out more, visit the website or click here to register.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) created a COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide in English and Spanish with information on topics about stress, anxiety, assistance programs, and more. 

Videos on Mental Health in Multiple Languages

Your Life Iowa through the Iowa Department of Public Health

Everyone needs help sometimes. If you or a loved one are facing a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, mental health or suicidal thoughts, you’re not alone. That is why the Iowa Department of Public Health has created YourLifeIowa.org so Iowans can chat live, text, or call and get reliable information and treatment options, and find nearby help.

If you or loved one have questions on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Click here for information, maps, and resources about the coronavirus response throughout Iowa.

Mental Health Checklist

Visit MakeitOK.org/IOWA for a mental health checklist for Mental Health Awareness Month.

make it okay

Mental Health Resources for Iowa's Youth

Youth in Iowa and throughout the nation have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, from the cancellation of classes, increased social isolation, increased rates of abuse, and a lack of general resources and supports that would be normally available.

There are several organizations in Iowa with mental health resources for youth. We have listed some of those organizations below. Please visit their websites for a full list of resources for youth.

Other helpful resources for youth and those supporting youth:

Mental Health Crisis Lines

  • Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA)
    Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Link)
    Call 800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline
  • Crisis Textline (Link)
    Text HOME to 741741
  • Veterans Crisis Line (VA)
    Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255
  • Your Life Iowa (Link)
    Call: (855) 581-8111; Text: (855) 895-8398

Emergency/Victim Services

Iowa Victim Services Still Available During COVID-19

All 24 victim service programs in Iowa continue to offer 24/7 free and confidential support and resources. Most of these services are being done remotely, including survivor support groups, counseling, and more. To find a victim service program in your area, visit: https://www.iowacasa.org/help or https://www.icadv.org/iowa-victim-service-programs. For culturally specific programs, visit: https://www.iowacasa.org/culturally-specific-programs or https://www.icadv.org/culturally-specific.

If you need immediate assistance, contact the Iowa Victim Service Call Center at 1-800-770-1650 or text IOWAHELP to 20121. Helpline and textline services are available in English and Spanish. 

COVID-19 Information, Materials, and Resources in Multiple Languages

Language Access from the Iowa Department of Human Rights

The Iowa Department of Human Rights has updated its Language Access page on critical information related to COVID-19 in a variety of languages. Visit our website for information on health and safety, summaries of the Governor's press conferences, myths, FAQs, and additional resources.

English Language Learner Hotline 1-877-558-2609

RACI and Lutheran Services in Iowa, in partnership with 211, Polk County Heath Department, and the Iowa Department of Public Health, has a hotline that will help expand access and capacity to Iowans who are limited in English. Interpretation is available in Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Kinyarawanda, Kirundi/Kinyamulenge, French, Burmese, Karen, Karenni, Nepali, Somali, Tigrinya, Kunama, Amharic, Nuer, Maban, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and other optional languages. Interpreters will be available 8:30-5:00 with a 24 hour voicemail. For more information click here

Translated flyers are now available in ArabicFrenchKinyamulengeKirundiMabanNepali, and Spanish. For a full list, please see the RACI Covid-19 response page: https://www.refugeeallianceofcentraliowa.org/covid19-information.

Crisis Response Helpline

In partnership with 26 Immigrant and Refugee Led Faith and Community Organizations in six cities across Iowa, EMBARC has created a crisis response website to provide accurate and timely information about the coronavirus from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and County Health Departments.

News are shared via translations, video, and audio recordings in ethnic languages from Burma including Hakha Chin, Mizo Chin, Karenni, Karen and Burmese. Information will also be provided in Kirundi, Kunama, Lingala, French and Swahili, through EMBARC's Community Catalyst Project, an initiative that was launched in 2018 to engage newly arrived refugee-led groups to grow leadership, build collective capacity, and increase impact.

For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/embarciowa.org/embarc-crisis-response/home

Other Resources

Resources for those experiencing discrimination or hate crimes

  • Anyone experiencing a hate crime should call the police first.  
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission: The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public, accommodations, and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national original, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, age, and credit. For more information or to file a complaint, you may contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at icrc@iowa.gov or call 1-800-457-4416. 
  • U.S. Department of Justice: If you believe you are a victim of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected classes, you can find information about how to file a complaint at https://www.justice.gov/crt/how-file-complaint and https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs. Complaints of employment discrimination can be filed with the EEOC at https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm. You can also contact the Civil

    Rights Division at toll-free 855-856-1247 or 202-514-3827. In addition, the Division provides resources at https://www.ada.gov (disability-related topics) and https://www.lep.gov (language access information).

  • FBI: After reporting to the local police, if you have information concerning the commission of violent acts or threats due to race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected class, please contact your local FBI field office. You can find a list of field offices at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices. FBI online tip form: https://tips.fbi.gov/.

Home Energy Assistance Deadline May 31, 2020

The Iowa Department of Human Rights' network of local community action agencies administer the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to assist eligible households with a portion of their utility bill. Applications are being accepted at the local agencies through May 31, 2020. Find out how to apply for assistance through your local Community Action Agency.

Previous Newsletters

April 24, 2020

April 17, 2020

April 10, 2020