How Right Now: Getting Resources to Manage Stress, Stay Healthy in COVID-19 Pandemic

Pandemics are stressful times, full of uncertainty and fear. It’s common to feel worried, afraid, sad or angry when dealing with job insecurity, loved ones who are sick and the isolation of social distancing. To help people navigate these challenging times, the CDC Foundation is pleased to support How Right Now, an initiative that aims to address people’s feelings of grief, loss and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The How Right Now campaign, developed by NORC at the University of Chicago with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and funded by the CDC Foundation, provides resources that support mental health during the pandemic and offers ideas for ways to cope with COVID-19 related stress. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted lives in ways that many of us have not experienced before. How Right Now is a new research-based initiative that seeks to support people's emotional well-being in order to help them adapt and be resilient during this time,” said Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia, a program area director at NORC at the University of Chicago. “We are honored to be collaborating with the CDC Foundation on this important initiative.”

Symptoms of stress include trouble sleeping, changes in eating habits, worsening of existing health issues, and increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other substances. Some groups are at higher risk of elevated stress: adults over 65, individuals with pre-existing mental and physical health issues, people at risk of violence and those experiencing financial stress. While the stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming, there are practical resources available to help. It’s important to learn healthy coping skills in order to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. It’s also helpful to remember that no one is alone in their stress and to learn what others are doing to cope. 

So what we can all do to cope with stress? How Right Now strives to answer that question through a social media campaign focused on things people can do in order to deal with feelings of sadness, worry, fear, anger and stress. The social posts target different at-risk groups with useful tips. For example, posts targeted at populations over 65 can encourage readers to reach out to friends and family in order to combat loneliness. Information targeted at those struggling financially includes resources for help in job hunting, housing, food resources and health care access. The campaign will also feature PSA videos of real conversations in both English and Spanish about mental health during the pandemic and what they are doing to practice resilience. 

How Right Now’s website also features an interactive tool to help users find resources that address their specific concern. Resources include fact sheets, articles, webinars, mobile apps and crisis hotlines from a variety of reputable organizations such as CDC, the Red Cross, the Department of Veterans Affairs, AARP and the American Psychological Association. Examples of these resources include:

None of us are on our own when it comes to dealing with stress. Visit www.howrightnow.org to explore the resources and find more information. 



Maria Bruzzo is a COVID-19 corps communications officer for the CDC Foundation.