Dealing with the coronavirus has been stressful. And many of us have been affected physically, emotionally, and financially.
But there’s help when we need it. There are so many places that are offering free or low-cost support right now. And, you don’t have to leave your house to use it.
These are just a few places where you can turn for help.
The Council for Relationships
The Council for Relationships is a nonprofit in Philadelphia that provides free and low-fee online and phone counseling to anyone, including those who have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One program, “Those Who Care,” free for residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, provides one-on-one counseling for essential front-line workers, including health-care employees, EMT personnel, police, firefighters, those who work in transit deliveries, grocery stores, and any other essential workers. This program is staffed by therapists who have expertise dealing with trauma.
“Most of our therapists are trained to help people who are experiencing trauma, and we know that is the case with front-line workers,” said Deb D’Arcangelo, chief executive officer for Council for Relationships.
There is also one-on-one online counseling from therapists and psychiatrists across the Philadelphia area for anyone who needs it. All services are a sliding fee scale. “We are committed to providing quality therapy services to all regardless of ability to pay,” the council’s website says.
Support and referral line of Pa.
If you’re feeling scared, overwhelmed, or anxious, there are community-based resources available if you live in Pennsylvania, through the Support and Referral Helpline at 1-855-284-2492.
According to a spokesperson, support is offered to anyone struggling with anxiety issues because of the pandemic. They are not licensed counselors but can refer you to counselors in the area, including those who can help with issues such as unemployment.
Mental Health Association of N.J.
This group offers virtual support programs statewide. Among them: the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), which is designed to help with a variety of issues, including physical, mental-health, and life problems, by helping you create your own plans and resource toolbox. The program is also supported by drop-in group sessions, which happen online.
In addition, the group’s regional offices offer a range of support groups. For example, the Atlantic County office updates its online programs every day for anyone who needs support with stress, job hunting, substance-use issues, and more.
“We were doing 15 to 20 groups a week before this happened, and now it is 30,” said Victoria Phillips, the executive director of the Mental Health Association in Atlantic County.
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia
This social service agency offers several free programs for people of all denominations and ages for the five-county region of Philadelphia.
The JFCS has a range of support groups including for those who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus, need financial help, need assistance navigating the benefits system, are family of essential workers, and more.
The group has also created a website for health-care professionals with self-care tips, helpful articles, and other resources.
And the JFCS offers a Friendly Callers Line staffed by volunteers for anyone feeling lonely or isolated to have a conversation. It is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 267-256-2075.
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The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of South Jersey
This group provides free services to people of all denominations and ages primarily in the Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties areas.
The website details all the programs, including groups for special-needs adults, teens, and their families, and a grief support group for those who have lost a friend or relative to the coronavirus.
The LiveWell Foundation
This Philadelphia-based nonprofit offers free depression support groups. With the pandemic, the group’s projects have moved online and are open to anyone in the country. According to executive director Stefanie Glick, a growing number of people nationwide have joined.
“We are one of the only organizations that offers free depression support group in the country,” Glick said. “It is so needed, especially since one out of five people will suffer from depression.”