At this point, who isn’t excessively worrying about coronavirus? I am certainly struggling; I’ve woken up numerous times in a clammy sweat from dreams about it this week alone.
It’s perfectly OK to feel every single emotion you’re experiencing lately. “Being anxious right now is completely understandable as anxiety stems, in large part, from uncertainty and that is everywhere,” said Jessica Gold, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.
Gold said that self-care can help mitigate some of the negative feelings coming up during this pandemic. That means getting enough sleep, eating proper meals, taking a break from the news, and connecting with loved ones over FaceTime. This also means asking for mental health help when emotions become overwhelming, she stressed.
Of course, that can be easier said than done. Therapy can be expensive. Even if you have insurance, it can still be taxing on your wallet.
Thankfully, there are some affordable mental health resources. We rounded up a few options, which range from helping you address low-level anxiety to support you should use when you’re in a crisis. Take a look at them below, and know there’s no shame in getting some outside help:
Crisis Text Line
Mental health counselors are just a quick text away thanks to the Crisis Text Line, which is a free national text messaging service. Just text “home” to 741-741 to get started. And know that you’re not the only one who is struggling with coronavirus fears lately: Approximately 77% of Crisis Text Line texters said they have stress or anxiety related to coronavirus, according to data sent to HuffPost from the organization.
Teletherapy or other digital services
Online therapy services like BetterHelp and Talkspace may offer more affordable options than your insurance provider or other in-person therapists. Plans can start anywhere from $40 to $60 a week, depending on the company. Some even offer financial aid or other payment options. (Talkspace is also offering free online therapy for frontline medical workers during this crisis.)
Real, a new mental health platform, is offering free online help this month in response to coronavirus concerns. The company will provide a selection of services for users ― including group sessions, virtual events and one-on-one sessions ― which will be led by trained mental health professionals.
Many providers do offer sliding scale payment options, meaning you discuss what you can afford with your therapist and settle on a session rate together. This could be a useful option if you’re not insured or working right now, or if you’re currently seeing a therapist who isn’t covered under your plan.
Ask mental health professionals if they do sliding scale. You can also search for sliding scale treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Websites like Thero.org can also help you search for a sliding scale therapist.
Of course, all of this should be done via telephone or online if you’re social distancing or self-isolating.
These aren’t a replacement for therapy. However, they’re a great supplement. Research shows that meditation can help ease stress, help you sleep better and more. Programs like Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer are all offering trials or free coronavirus-related options for users. Seems like there’s no better time to try it out.
Social media support groups and accounts
Like the meditation apps, social media shouldn’t be your only form of help; there’s no substitute for talking to a mental health professional. That said, there are some great support options where you can connect with others who are going through the same thing. They’re a great reminder that you’re not alone.
Talkspace has a series of groups on Facebook where people can come discuss coronavirus anxiety, some of which are moderated by a licensed professional.
I also like following mental health-related Instagram accounts, which break up the doom in my feed and offer some excellent advice. Some of my favorites include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Wellful and Sad Girls Club.
State and national hotlines
Some resources are being developed to specifically address mental health concerns tied to the coronavirus pandemic. This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a search for mental health professionals willing to voluntarily provide services. There’s also a free coronavirus mental health helpline people can use.
Calling a hotline can be especially important if you’re in crisis. If you’re at risk for self harm or suicide, please call someone immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free and confidential phone service you can call if you’re dealing with a mental health issue; to speak with someone, just dial 1-800-273-8255.
SAMHSA also has its own 24-hour free hotline.
Above all, don’t shove your feelings below the surface and tell yourself you’ll be fine. You deserve to feel OK and taken care of right now.
“I think we sit with our emotions and don’t know what they mean or where they come from, and don’t allow ourselves to process them. Mental health support is great for this,” Gold said.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Coronavirus live updates: Spain’s death toll overtakes China, Prince Charles Tests Positive
- US Senate reaches a deal on biggest bailout ever
- Health care workers around the world are falling sick
- What to do if you live with someone with COVID-19
- How to make a face mask that is effective against coronavirus
- Sorry, but you shouldn’t go to your friend’s house while social distancing
- Women expecting babies ask: who will be with me during labor?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.