Whether you’re still staying at home, or your community has started to remove restrictions and you’re returning to the outside world, many of us are still dealing with feelings like fear, confusion and anxiety about a life event that has affected all of us in some way.
A global public health and economic crisis resulting in thousands of deaths and crushing economic consequences for families and businesses isn’t something a lot of people can (or have to) “get over” and move on.
A lot of information is out there to help us get medical care and access economic assistance, but mental health is what I often call the “P.S.” on a list of resources.
There might be a list of, say, 50 entities for medical care and financial aid, and somewhere near or at the end, there’s what I call the P.S. — a postscript to the front end stuff.
This is often a crisis hotline or a link to a national site for mental health. Don’t misunderstand — those are needed and valid referrals, but there’s always room for more in-depth information about how to take care of our mental health during times like this.
The stigma surrounding mental health, and seeking professional help versus burying it or “riding it out” is still an obstacle to wellness in our society.
A pandemic isn’t just “a scare.”
Something on this scale has people dealing with challenges like post-traumatic stress, grief, depression, anxiety, and damaged relationships.
In the pre-coronavirus days, I always had people asking me about places to access mental health care and information; so much so, that I started to keep a varied running list.
I’ve added a lot to it over the past two months, and shared it with you below.
Most importantly: CHECK ON ONE ANOTHER.
All it takes is a phone call, written or (even better) video text that says, “I’m thinking of you. How are you doing during all of this?”
You can also say:
- “I support you and care about you.”
- “Let me know if you want to talk.”
What you DON’T HAVE TO DO is solve their problems or counsel them.
Sometimes people don’t reach out because they’re afraid they won’t know what to say.
And what if it is awkward?
Yeah, and so what if it is?
We’re in a crisis.
We can handle feeling “awkward” if we now face going to the grocery and confronting our fears of touching fruit because we are afraid we’ll get sick, or make someone else sick.
I believe (because I’ve experienced it myself) we don’t reach out sometimes, because yes, we ARE afraid of being overwhelmed by someone else’s emotions.
And maybe there’s a worry or fear you’re not always conscious of that a person who is afraid or in pain is a mirror for your own stuff. Or that they’re “mentally contagious.”
I call that “shadow boxing your own shit.”
We all do it — conscious of it or not.
Listen, you can do hard things like confront your own fears and still connect with other people.
You can be aware of your thoughts about “catching” someone else’s painful feelings and keep good boundaries for yourself.
If we are conscious of what we carry within ourselves and how we manage our minds, we can be more present to others.
It doesn’t take a lot.
That’s what will diminish the stigma surrounding mental health.
So, put your own oxygen mask on first, and then see if a friend needs assistance with theirs.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
- National Alliance On Mental Illness: COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
- Psychology Today Therapist Directory: Visit the Psychology Today website and click “Find A Therapist.” Enter your city or zip code and find licensed mental health providers who offer 1:1 counseling via telehealth, as well as support groups. You can even filter your search by your insurance and the issues you most want to work through.
- National Institute of Mental Health: Supporting Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation: The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation was founded to eradicate the stigma around mental health issues in the African American community. The COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support campaign was developed by the foundation to cover the cost for virtual or tele-therapy services by licensed, culturally competent clinicians for up to five (5) sessions.
This campaign is exclusive to individuals and families experiencing a life-changing event(s) related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the foundation is connected to many other resources for mental health support and education.
5. The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) young people under 25. The It Gets Better Project is a great resource, as well.
6. BetterHelp E-Counseling: BetterHelp’s mission is making professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere. Mere weeks ago, a lot of people overlooked (and often dismissed) offering and receiving counseling via telehealth.
In a very short period of time, it became the only way to get mental health services. While it’s not the same dynamic as an in-person experience, it is an excellent platform for mental health services.
Confidentiality is protected, and counselors and clients can bond and create an effective communication process. I have been offering life coaching services via phone and video conferencing for over eight years, and my clients and I have done transformative work together across the miles.
E-counseling/telehealth is also a great option for individuals living in rural areas where mental health care is scarce or in a faraway town they can’t always get to because of time, transportation or other barriers.
There are also many other resources for e-counseling and telehealth if you further your research online.
Here are links for more services that have groups or communities across the country and in different parts of the world:
7. Mindspace Online COVID-19 Support Group
8. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
9. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
12. Griefshare – Grief Recovery Support
13. Pride Counseling – professional online counseling for the LGBTQIA individuals
14. National Association of School Psychologists (children & COVID-19)
15. “7 Tips For Making the Most Out of Therapy During the COVID-19 Outbreak” (article)
Now — right now — is the perfect time to strengthen the foundation of your mind and the choices you’re making to build your life.
These are uncertain and sometimes painful times, but that doesn’t mean working on your future has to be a heavy and draining process.
I bring my lighthearted spirit when I am working with my clients in a way that is honorable and respectful.
Right now, I’m helping women across the spectrum with job loss, home school overwhelm, anxiety, inventing new — often online – streams of income, as well as my nurses on the front lines who are devoted, and also terrified right now.
We need each other; we’re going to get through this, and I am with you.
The world has given us a “reset” that we did not ask for.
Everything stopped for everybody. No one was spared.
It’s been tragic and upending. Unprecedented.
It can also be an opportunity to look at your life, decide what is important and ask, “Am I living the way I want to live?”
If it’s time to recalibrate or rebuild your life as we emerge from this crisis, I’m ready for you.
Let’s get moving.
- Schedule a 30 minute S.O.S. session
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Are we connected online?
Let’s do it: RIGHT NOW: We need to lean into community and connection now more than ever
Are we connected online?
Let’s do it:
RIGHT NOW: We need to lean into community and connection now more than ever.
In my private, free Facebook community, Women On The MOVE, I am giving you just that.
Visit Facebook and follow Laura Wagner Life Coaching.
- I also spend a lot of time on Instagram (especially in creating “stories”).
- You can also visit these links and see more of my work:
- in Today’s Woman Magazine and their February Galentine’s Day event.
Stay connected and stay well.