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Mental Health Support Online: 5 Resources You’ll Need During Quarantine

Is being quarantined starting to weigh on you mentally and emotionally? Have you expelled your “school at home” students because they can’t stay focused through distance learning? If so, I overstand. It is very important to take care of your mental and emotional health. When you’re emotionally distressed your immune system can be affected and physical health can suffer as well. It is now easier than ever before to take advantage of telehealth services and get access to mental health support online.

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What we are feeling is grief over the loss of control and the loss of the way of life as we knew it. There is also anxiety from not knowing how long we’ll be at home and being worried about the next thing to be taken away. If you are in crisis please seek immediate help by calling 911, your local emergency health provider, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Before Getting Support Online

You should understand that no type of mental health support can be delivered in the same way as face to face care. There is a different feel to being physically present in the room with another person. However, studies have shown that telehealth in the mental health field can be as effective as face to face treatment. But that’s for methods that involve traditional interaction in a virtual manner (face to face on screen or by phone).

But there are other ways to get the help you need. The quickest way to engage is through mobile apps. There are several ones to choose from, but they don’t all work the same.

Apps That You Engage

The first method is using an app you choose to engage when you need it. There won’t be any automatic notifications, texts, or emails. An app like the Virtual Hope Box allows you to choose from its tools when you’re feeling stressed and need immediate support.

Created with veterans and active military personnel in mind, Virtual Hope Box is built on four components of stress management: distraction, relaxation, inspiration, and coping skills. The app provides guided image exercises, thinking games, mediation music, and relaxation techniques. My favorite thing about this app is that users can store emergency contacts within the app. So if the exercises aren’t enough you can seek help without leaving the app. Download Virtual Hope Box free on Android platforms.

Apps That Engage You

Other apps, like the Calm App, take the driver’s seat regarding the kind of interaction you’ll receive. This app, and others like it, deliver mindfulness meditations, relaxation techniques, “scenes” to help you reduce stress, increase focus, and get better sleep which leads to better overall health. The key feature of the Calm App is the “daily calm” guided meditation. There is less control over the content you receive, but you don’t have to choose how to engage.

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It’s free to download the app, but the service ranges in price. All subscribers receive a 7 day free trial with access to a limited number of features. You can continue to use the app after the trial period with access to only the free features. Otherwise, you can subscribe to the premium features for around $70 annually or $399 for a lifetime membership.

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Digital Therapy Platforms

Digital therapy platforms are becoming a popular option for people who want to seek mental health support but maybe aren’t ready to share their struggles with another person. These services are largely based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and deliver proven methods to identify, assess, and change thoughts and behaviors that lead to stress.

Two digital therapy apps that I recommend are Bloom and Sanvello. They both provide daily videos that are suited to the struggles and goals you identify in your initial assessment on the apps. But this is not personal therapy.

Bloom is only available on iOS platforms and they are currently offering a free month when you sign up. Sanvello is available on both Apple and Android platforms and is free during the current global pandemic.

CBT is my jam. It is based upon what happens in your brain and how that affects your body. So if you’re in need of me talk health support but aren’t ready to talk to an actual person, Bloom or Sanvello are good places to start.

One on One App-Based Therapy

With one on one app based therapy you are matched with a licensed therapist who responds to your specific questions and struggles. So app based one on one therapy is like you were going to sit on someone’s couch, only you communicate through the app.

A benefit of app based therapy is there’s no need to wait for an appointment. There also no need to be in a specific place. You can access therapy on your terms in the method that suits you best. If you choose a text or messaging service your therapist will respond without the need for scheduling. However, scheduled phone and video visits are available with a higher level of app based therapy services.

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There are some very popular platforms for app based therapy, but the one I am recommending is Better Help. As a Marriage and Family Therapy Master Intern, I am partial to including everyone affected in a therapy setting. Better Help offer individual, couples, and family therapy options. There are also options to get therapy for your children. Prices are set by the individual therapists and can vary.

One on One Provider Therapy

Lastly, but certainly not least, is to continue therapy with your current mental health provider through a HIPPA compliant telemental health streaming platform. My therapist uses Simple Practice, but there are many others available. If you are already being seen by a mental health professional, ask how you can continue to access your mental health support online in a HIPPA compliant manner. The benefit is that unlike the other methods, your health insurance should cover your sessions. Check with your carrier for specifics and out of pocket costs.

The need to rapidly transition to offering telemental health has caused some providers to pause taking on new clients. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out if there’s someone you’d like to see. Just know that therapy is a lot like dating – it takes a while to get comfortable and be yourself even if you’re head over heels. The changes of shifting to telemental health may make it tougher for some therapists.

How are you getting the mental health support you need right now?

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