12 Free Mental Health Resources During Coronavirus (COVID-19)


12 Free Mental Health Resources During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Ilima Loomis
By Ilima Loomis
Apr 27, 2020 - Updated Oct 15, 2020
Dr. Amy Kearney
Medically Reviewed ByDr. Amy Kearney
A young woman is sitting in her home with her eyes closed, wearing headphones. She is using a meditation app as a free resource to support mental health during COVID-19.

If you’re like many Americans, you’re probably feeling stressed these days, with good reason. It’s been more than 8 months since the global coronavirus pandemic took hold, and ongoing lockdowns, coupled with job losses, grief, and fear have taken a toll on mental health for millions of Americans.

It’s perfectly normal to feel a high level of stress right now, and yet many of the usual resources people turn to — like in-person therapy and support groups —still aren’t an option.

Fortunately, there are ways you can take care of your mental health at home, irrespective of your ability to pay for mental health services. Here are twelve free mental health resources available to help you cope with stress, fear, anxiety, and depression during the coronavirus pandemic.

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1. Tips for Coping With Coronavirus Anxiety from the CDC

If you’re looking for a place to start, the CDC has prepared a [list of tips][1] for managing anxiety and stress around coronavirus. The resource page includes special advice for parents, first responders and health care workers, and people who are in quarantine or have been released from quarantine.

2. Free Meditation Packages from Headspace

Popular meditation app [Headspace][2] has prepared a free collection of meditation and mindfulness content called “Weathering the Storm.” Available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, the collection is focused on content and exercises to help with coronavirus-related stress and anxiety. Additional free collections are designed to help teachers and educators, and for employers and managers to share with employees.

3. Shine Toolkit to Help with Coronavirus Anxiety

Shine, a self-care app and online community for people with anxiety and depression has created a special [toolkit][3] for managing coronavirus-related anxiety. The package includes curated content around issues like coping with isolation, anxiety, and financial worry; meditations for stress, anxiety, and sleep; Q&As with mental health experts; and links to “delightful, soothing, and relaxing internet things” for when you need to take a break.

4. 10 Percent Happier’s “Coronavirus Sanity Guide”

Meditation and mindfulness app 10 Percent Happier is offering a free [“Coronavirus Sanity Guide”][4] with links to a special podcast on coping with coronavirus anxiety; guided meditations on practicing self-compassion for stress and feeling off your game; and talks on coping with bad news, practicing compassion for others through coronavirus safety, and turning handwashing into a mindfulness exercise.

The package includes “10 Percent Happier Live,” a daily live meditation and discussion with top meditation teachers that includes an opportunity for audience Q&A.

5. Talkspace Free Coronavirus Resource Hub

Leading online therapy app Talkspace is providing a free [coronavirus resource hub][5] with tips and articles on issues like working from home, coping with disappointment, and protecting mental health while social distancing.

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6. Text with a Crisis Counselor

If you’re in crisis and need immediate support, the Crisis Text Line provides 24-hour access to a trained crisis counselor over your phone. The program isn’t just for people contemplating self-harm, it’s for anyone who needs support dealing with intense emotional pain.

Crisis counselors are trained volunteers, not medical professionals, so they offer emotional support, not medical advice. It usually takes less than five minutes to connect with someone, and the counselor will stay on the line until you’re calm and safe, whether that means referring you to further help, or just listening.

The Crisis Text Line website also offers free articles and advice for coping with coronavirus. To get started, text HOME to 741741 in the US (check the website for instructions on texting from Canada or the UK).

7. A Daily Calm Calendar

If you’re looking for bite-sized tips for staying grounded and bringing more mindfulness into your daily life, meditation app Calm offers a downloadable calendar with daily tips, exercises, and mindfulness challenges to reset and keep yourself on track. Tips might prompt you to take a break from technology, find a quote or affirmation that supports you, and make a list of things that make you feel safe. The calendar can be downloaded as a printable PDF, used as a wallpaper for your computer or tablet, or linked to your personal online calendar so that prompts show up on your daily agenda.

8. InsightTimer Guided Meditations

For an extensive audio library of meditations, talks, and spiritual music, check out InsightTimer. This free app offers collections of guided meditations and prayers from a wide range of faith traditions, from Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, to Shinto and Kabbalah, as well as science-based content, like meditations for headaches and sleep.

You can search for programs targeting specific areas of concern, including stress and anxiety, grief, and parenting. The app also offers special collections with meditations to help kids stay calm and get to sleep.

9. Online Tools and Apps From the VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a number of free online tools and apps, which are available for free to everyone. The PTSD Coach Online is a free resource with videos, handouts, and other tools. Collections offer help coping with issues like worry or anxiety, trauma reminders, sadness or hopelessness, and disconnection from people. Resources are also available on the PTSD Coach app, which provides tools ranging from relaxation skills and positive self-talk to anger management tools.

The COVID Coach app from the VA is a personal goal setting tracker, to monitor well-being, mood swings and PTSD. It can be used as a stand-alone tool, or in conjunction with with professional mental health care

The VA’s Mindfulness Coach app is designed to help with the practice of mindfulness (grounding yourself in the present moment), by offering mindfulness exercises, along with strategies to overcome challenges to mindfulness practice, and reminders to support mindfulness practice.

The CBT-i Coach is also available to anyone who is currently engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia, or those who suffer from insomnia and would like to improve sleep habits. It guides users through the process of developing better sleep routines, while providing strategies which are proven to alleviate insomnia.

10. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s YouTube Videos

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers dozens of videos on coping, dealing with anxiety, and depression, led by psychologists and mental health clinicians on its Youtube channel. Videos include tips for coping with specific fears and anxieties including financial stress, health anxiety, and managing emotional rollercoasters as the country opens back up.

11. Breathe2Relax Portable Stress Management Tool

Created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, the Breathe2Relax app offers instructions for reducing stress on the body, using practice exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing. As a stand-alone tool to help stabilize your mood, manage anxiety, or control anger, Breathe2Relax aims to help reduce your body’s fight or flight stress response.

12. National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine offers free, nationwide peer-support Monday through Friday from 10 am-6 pm EST. The hotline provides resource referrals and support to those living with mental illness, or caretakers of those with mental illness. To contact the NAMI HelpLine, call 800-950-6264.

Keep Your Mental Health in Check During Coronavirus

While many resources can help you practice self-care and manage your mental health, it may not always be enough. If you find that you need extra support, you can use telehealth options or online therapy to connect with a counselor for individualized help.

In some cases, insurance may cover online counseling sessions. If you’re paying out-of-pocket, many telehealth providers are offering discounted rates during the crisis, so take some time to shop around.

If the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on your mental health, reach out for help. There is no shame in asking for help or mental health support during this incredibly trying time.

Ilima Loomis

Ilima Loomis

Ilima Loomis is a freelance writer and journalist who specializes in writing about health care, HR, science, travel, and Hawaii. You can find more of her work at ilimaloomis.com. Ilima is a regular contributor to the RxSaver blog.

Dr. Amy Kearney

Dr. Amy Kearney

Amy Kearney earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in the Los Angeles area. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked for one of the nation’s largest HMOs since 2002. She currently specializes in pain management and gets great joy from helping individuals maximize their quality of life and functioning while living with chronic conditions.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.