Man talking to therapist on phone

“Don’t think you’re invincible. COVID-19 has led to a rise in depression, stress, and anxiety.”

At the time of writing, we’re only nine weeks into social distancing measures but are already feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on our mental health. At the end of April, a study was released reporting that over half of Canadians are experiencing worse mental health. In the same study, as many respondents reported being “bored” and “depressed”, as did feeling “grateful” and “optimistic”. Other studies (e.g., in the UK) have come out with similar statistics, demonstrating that COVID-19 is having a direct impact on mental health worldwide.

Where to get support

Some people might think that with current COVID-19 social distancing measures in place, it may be too hard to reach out and receive support for their mental health or believe that available support isn’t useful if they can’t see a therapist in person. What they may not realize is that mental health supports are currently more accessible than ever and that seeing someone via video call can still be very helpful. 

If you already have one, keep seeing your therapist

Now, more than ever, therapists are offering their services virtually via platforms like Skype or Zoom, as well as via phone. If you’ve stopped attending therapy due to social distancing measures, ask your therapist if they offer virtual services. 

Video or phone calls may seem awkward at first, but it’s important to keep in touch with your therapist and give it a try. You may be surprised by how much you are still able to connect and get support.

Try Online Therapy

If you don’t already have a therapist, there are several major online organizations that offer therapy with a registered therapist through online means. Their rates can vary, but many offer subsidized or discounted sessions for those unable to pay. Some examples are BetterHelp and Talkspace. We’ve created a dedicated page on our site to online therapy.

Try Online Chats and Phone Lines

Need to talk to someone now? There are new chat, texting, and calling services available for those looking to receive mental health support. 

Canada: 

UK and Ireland: 

  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably): 0800 58 58 58

United States:

You don’t always have to be in a crisis to contact these services and can reach out if you just need to talk to someone. 

There may also be more localized resources within your country. For example, within Canada, the province of British Columbia has crisiscentrechat.ca, 310 Mental Health Support (Call 310-6789), and an extensive list of free services. Many of these resources are available to others outside of BC too.

Make Use of New Government and Non-Profit Supports

Governments and non-profit organizations are paying more attention and ramping up services for mental health systems because they are recognizing the huge mental health impact of COVID-19 and the related social measures being taken to curb its spread.  From free online therapy in some areas to new COVID-specific support phone lines, there are more ways than ever through which we can receive mental health support right now.

A lot of new supports are becoming available on a weekly basis. It’s important to conduct online searches for resources that are available in your area:

Remember that you don’t have to go through this time of social distancing feeling alone and down. There is help available for you right now.  

For more on managing your mental health during these times, see our COVID-19 Hub

Written by the HeadsUpGuys Team - Combining lived experience, clinical practice, and research expertise. Reviewed and approved by Dr. John Ogrodniczuk - Professor and Director of the Psychotherapy Program at the Department of Psychiatry, The University of British Columbia.
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