Spending time by yourself may make you feel as if no one’s watching or caring about you, specifically. We definitely care about the large numbers of people who are being affected by the COVID-19. The data collecting is mindbogglingly. Daily you see charts with numbers in the thousands of people worldwide affected by this international pandemic.
But what about you, holed away wherever you are holed away? How are you doing?
Taking care of yourself in every domain — especially with your mental and spiritual health — has taken center stage during this time. If you haven’t been laid off, then see if your employer offers an Employer Assistance Program (EAP) where you can receive up to 8 to 12 sessions (depending on the plan) of counseling with no out of pocket cost to you. It is paid by your employer as a benefit and your counseling sessions are not part of your health record.
Many EAP plans are allowing telehealth services during this Pandemic. So, you can receive services in your home.
What if you have lost your job? Then reach out to your local community mental health agency or call your local United Way 211 who can help you get connected with local services.
Also, some special interest groups, such as the military, have foundations dedicated to providing resources with no out of cost. For example, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has partnered with the Strong Star Training Initiative to provide Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure therapy to military veterans and/or family members who suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My practice is participating in this program for post 9/11 war veterans who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. The W. oodruff Foundation has a robust menu of programming to help veterans across the United States in a variety of situations to receive the support they need.
If you are a health professional or other essential employee in the middle of providing services during this pandemic, then many therapists are donating their time to support you. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has assisted in providing a platform for therapists across the nation to donate their time. Over 6,000 mental health therapists have so far donated to this effort. New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1–844–863–9314. These types of services will be expanding across the United States as regions are impacted by the pandemic.
As always, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255 offers crisis counseling if you are in danger of harming yourself. You can also text them “TALK” at 741741.
It’s tough right now. It’s tough on all of us. But we will get through this. Keep holding on until the tide flattens. You may be by yourself right now, social distancing, but you don’t have to be alone.