We are reaching out to check in on you and your loved ones.

The holiday season can be a stressful time in any given year—even without a pandemic—and I want you to know you aren’t alone. If you are in need of emotional support during this difficult time, text “TALK” to 552020 for free, anonymous help from a counselor, available 24/7.

We also wanted to share a few other updates and resources you may find helpful. Below, you’ll find information on an upcoming webinar, details on state service changes, and a message from the Illinois State Treasurer.

Remember to take care of your physical and mental health during this time. We are all in this together.

Upcoming workplace safety webinar

The Illinois Department of Labor is hosting a free webinar Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon that will provide a comprehensive overview of Illinois OSHA, along with other important topics related to the COVID-19 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Participants will also have the chance to speak to Illinois OSHA enforcement officers directly to get answers to their most pressing questions. Register to join the webinar here.

Support for students and teachers

The Illinois State Board of Education has launched a new program to provide better mental health resources for students and education staff in Illinois. The Resilience Education to Advance Community Healing (REACH) program will offer training to help educators, school counselors and community members address students’ mental health needs, as well as support their own personal and professional well-being during the pandemic and beyond. Learn more about the program and other mental health resources here.

Driver services facilities closed until Jan. 5

The secretary of state’s office announced driver services facilities will remain closed to most motorists until Jan. 5 due to the pandemic. Some facilities will be open to CDL holders and new drivers, and select others will be offering drive-thru license plate sticker renewals. However, Illinois drivers are encouraged to skip the line and take advantage of 24/7 online services—including sticker, license and ID renewals—at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Advice from the state treasurer’s office

Gift cards are a great way to please a tough-to-buy-for friend or make online shopping easy, but it’s important that you’re familiar with the rules and risks of these stocking stuffers. The Illinois State Treasurer urges gift card recipients to spend the money as soon as possible—waiting for a rainy day may result in inactivity fees or unexpected expirations. You should also treat the gift card like cash, and report lost or stolen cards to law enforcement and the card’s issuer. Find more financial tips and resources at www.IllinoisTreasurer.gov.

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