SAMHSA has issued a Dear Colleague letter (PDF | 228 KB) to its HIV grantees and others stating that SAMHSA grantees may use SAMHSA grant resources, including funds or staff, for monkeypox-related activities conducted in conjunction with SAMHSA supported activities.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is working with our partners across HHS, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), to educate HIV-specific grantees, other SAMHSA grant recipients, persons with behavioral health conditions, family members, and caregivers about the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox.
It is common to feel stress symptoms during a public health emergency, especially among people in populations most affected currently by the Monkeypox outbreak, in this case gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. For this population, the compounding stresses of Monkeypox, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and homophobia/biphobia/transphobia can feel overwhelming. Most stress symptoms are temporary and will resolve on their own in a fairly short amount of time. However, for some people, these symptoms may last for weeks or even months and may influence their relationships with families and friends. Common warning signs of emotional distress include:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and things
- Having low or no energy
- Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Excessively smoking, drinking, or using drugs, including prescription medications
- Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why
- Thinking of hurting or killing yourself or someone else
- Having difficulty readjusting to home or work life
SAMHSA recognizes that some people at risk reportedly had difficulty accessing Monkeypox vaccines at the beginning of the outbreak. However, vaccines and other treatments are becoming more available. We urge you to get vaccinated if you are at risk. You may find locations providing Monkeypox vaccines by entering your zip code here. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters including infectious disease outbreaks. Contact the DDH at 1–800–985–5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
For those feeling stressed:
Use these tips to reduce your stress and anxiety:
- Limit or avoid news coverage if it causes you more stress and anxiety.
- Focus on positive things in your life that you can control.
- Keep stress under control by exercising, eating healthy, reading, or trying relaxation techniques such as yoga.
- Talk about your experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends and other members of your community if you find it helpful.
- Connect with others in the community who may be experiencing stress about the new Monkeypox outbreak. Take time to renew your spirit through meditation, prayer, or helping others in need.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.