Although anxiety is common in times of uncertainty, coronavirus poses a unique challenge: the very strategies we often employ to relieve stress, such as gathering with friends, or simply taking a walk outside, are less than ideal or even impossible for those worried about being exposed or those already in quarantine.
Top online therapy services are proving to be a welcome respite. Those with heightened anxiety but limited outlets for managing it are finding that online therapists can provide comfort, perspective, and professional guidance from afar.
Mental Health Month, which is marked annual in May and spreads the word that mental health is something everyone should care about, is an appropriate time to review your own mental health status, as well as the people around you. The theme for this year is "Tools 2 Thrive," which is all about providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency regardless of the situations they are dealing with.
On-Demand Culture Meets Mental Wellness
Online therapy, which provides counseling from licensed therapists by phone and video, has been filling this particular need long before the coronavirus outbreak.
Since its inception, one of online therapy’s major benefits was that it could provide professional support to those with physical disabilities, agoraphobia, or other conditions that made it hard for people to leave their homes.
As online therapy grows in popularity, more people are embracing it, from college students drawn to the more affordable rates to professionals who find that its flexibility is more accommodating to their busy schedules.
Though it was conceived as an affordable and more accessible alternative to traditional therapy, online therapy has found itself well-suited to meet the needs of those struggling with coronavirus anxiety.
And despite its affordability and convenience, champions of online therapy swear that there’s no compromise in quality, other than the obvious lack of face-to-face interaction. A quick survey of BetterHelp, one of the more well-known online therapy sites, shows thousands of available counselors with PhDs, LCSWs, and MSCCs.
Online Therapy and Coronavirus
With its infrastructure steadily in place and thousands of licensed therapists already available, online therapy is poised to meet the unique challenges that the coronavirus poses.
The outbreak is “on the minds of everyone I know, and is at the center of conversation with my patients over the past few weeks,” writes therapist Maggie Mulqueen in an article she penned for NBC News about corona-related anxiety.
Though the outbreak itself is unpredictable, our reaction to it can and should be mediated, Mulqueen writes, by finding outlets within our limits that can relieve our stress and worry.
“We need to address the psychological toll of living in such an uncertain time,” she writes. “Isolation also feeds anxiety, so rather than texting family and friends, it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to people.”
Many people are opting to connect withl an online therapist. According to Business Insider, requests for online therapy appointments have skyrocketed since the coronavirus took hold. Therapist Haley Neidich told the website that she’s seen a drastic increase in appointments. "I think this is likely due to the fact that I'm an online therapist exclusively,” she says. “People are super anxious but perhaps not wanting to venture out to a practice to meet with someone."
Online therapy is proving to be one of the more popular ways of bridging the gap.
At a time when the usual methods of stress-reduction can be viewed as threats themselves, being able to access a professional therapist from home is an immensely valuable option, and one that’s bringing solace to a growing number of people.