After my thousandth time signing off, “stay safe,” finishing up another Zoom meeting, and picking up the 3rd FaceTime from my mother (that day) checking that I had stayed home, I found myself wishing that my therapist had not retired in the fall of last year. And we thought 2019 was the year we would be glad to forget…
During this unprecedented time, and with a pulsing undercurrent of anxiety that seems to be fueled by the constant barrage of fear-focused media and news outlets, I have to remember I am among the fortunate. Likely if you are reading this, you are in a similar boat.
Many of us here in North America are fortunate to have a roof over our heads, food to eat or purchase, and possibly even the opportunity to work from home. I am well aware that there are many who don’t have these certainties. And I am oh-so-grateful for those of you on the frontlines— we are fiercely indebted to you. But whether working at home or on the front lines, something we all have in common, no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in during this crisis, is that we all need to be taking extra care of our mental health. Individually, and as a collective.
Now, for myself, therapy is nothing new. I started seeing a therapist as a child and have continued on and off through into adulthood. However, this is likely not the norm for many. Millenials are certainly disrupting the status quo when it comes to fighting shame and stigma surrounding mental health, so it comes as no surprise that with the uncertain times we face (although not face-to-face) online therapy and counselling platforms are growing rapidly in popularity.
Online counselling has been on the rise for a number of years now due to a shift in the way we socialize and our ability to utilize technology for resources that used to be limited to in person appointments. But due to the ”new normal” we are facing, seeking help from the comfort of your own home is just gaining steam.
Even writing this article, I am working on leaning into my own uncertainty of what the world will look like in the coming days, weeks, and months. Besides making a daily self care schedule and holding steady (most days) to my morning and evening rituals to keep me grounded (and giving myself a bit of grace if I stumble)…as in stumble into that family-sized box of rainbow bit cookies. I needed something tangible. I think we all need something tangible to find a sense of calm right now.
So while you may be actively trying to avoid not-so-great coping habits, such as downing an extra glass of vino nightly (or daily – we are functioning on airport rules here, people!), stress eating 3 boxes of KD, or mindlessly numbing out watching everything Netflix has to offer, maybe now is the time for you to lean into healthy coping mechanisms, like speaking to a trained professional.
Perhaps if we partake in looking after our mental health, we will find even small moments of gratitude and stability amongst the chaos of our current situations. And maybe we can translate that into life “after” this time period.
If you can’t afford a therapist, you have options. And since we can’t (and shouldn’t) leave our homes, thanks to technology, we still have options!
And may your Wi-Fi connection be ever in your favour.
With over 1 millions users on their platform, and references from the likes of Mashable,HuffPo, CNN – Talkspace; the convenient app of unlimited messaging, voice and video conferencing with a licensed therapist.
Take a quick assessment and get matched up with a therapist based off your individual needs
Work at your own pace. Plans offering as little and as much access as you’d like.
The app works alongside many employers benefits and health plans
Offer couples therapy. Something that may be on the rise for those who are sequestered in a small space, especially city dwellers.
Bonus Points – You can connect your Talkspace app with your Amazon Alexa and work through things like listening to your therapists responses, and complete exercises and assessments.
As seen in The New York Times and SELF Magazine BetterHelp provides affordable online counseling with a licensed therapist. Anytime, anywhere.
Individual, couples or therapy for your child/teenager
Take a quick assessment and get matched with a counsellor
Work with a counsellor at your own pace
You have the ability to switch counsellors if you do not feel like you mesh or are progressing
Based on your preference of choice you can exchange messages, live chat, phone call or video conference with your counsellor
Bonus Points: Free 7 day trial!
Suffering specifically from anxiety, but don’t want to actually speak or interact with anyone?
Supported by the Mayo Clinic – MindShift CBT uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety. Sounds like we could all benefit by downloading this free app.
CBT based tools to help with balancing and identifying thought patterns and fearful thinking
Ability to track anxiety progression and mood over periods of time, tools for your toolbelt to deal with whatever comes and how you view it
Elements of your profile can be shared, if you choose, with your clinical counsellor, if you currently have one
Bonus Points – Free to download
If you’re not prepared to take the leap into the digital therapy age, that is A-Okay too. For support and helpful tools, but with less commitment, and often easier on the wallet, although you won’t be getting the personalized care, you can search courses on sites like MindBodyGreen. They offer e-courses by experts in their fields on such things as managing fear and depression or overcoming stress through meditation.
Things may be a little uncertain and unknown right now, but you are strong. My hopes are that we take care of ourselves and each other and weather this storm together to form a kinder, more loving world. If you or someone you know is in crisis, don’t hesitate. Please reach out. You are not alone.
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566, or text 45645
Crisis Services Canada: http://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
Crisis Text Line: Text “DESERVE” TO 741-741
Lifeline Crisis Chat (Online live messaging): https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255
National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357
GLBT Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
TREVOR Crisis Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
AIDS Crisis Line: 1-800-221-7044
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net