How to find mental health help amid COVID-19

For many people, the pandemic is not only taking a toll on our physical health but on our mental health, too.

Fortunately, there are ways to get affordable mental health help right from home.

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 38% of adults have experienced depression or anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eli Nowak, a therapist in New Jersey, has had to adapt because of the pandemic.

"Since mid-March, I have shifted my practice to strictly via video or telephone," he said.

He has also seen an uptick in patients seeking help because of stresses caused by current events.

"It has been extremely challenging for most if not all of the people I have worked with," Nowak said.

"Numerous studies have shown that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person care. And they can offer patients more scheduling flexibility, convenience, privacy, and a bigger pool of potential therapists," said Rachel Rabkin Peachman with Consumer Reports.

If you're interested in finding a therapist who will see you virtually, a good place to begin is by asking for a referral from your primary care provider, family, or friends.

Several websites can be a good resource as well, like the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

If you have health insurance, you can also look on your insurer's website for a list of therapists covered under your plan.

There are also free options out there.

"You can call 211 or visit 211.org for a referral to a provider who offers support at no cost or on a sliding scale based on your budget. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and talk anonymously to a trained mental health professional for free," Peachman said.

And if you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both programs provide free, confidential support 24/7.
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