With the coronavirus infection (COVID 19) causing the cancellation of events and having many places on shutdown across the world, many of those in need of therapy for mental health reasons have been turning to distant/remote therapy treatment instead of in-person sessions with their therapist(s).
The notable increase in the number of people seeking tele-therapy due to the coronavirus crisis made news as the spread of infection appeared to become rapid and wide in occurrence around the second week of March 2020. WHAM reported that Lisa Blalock, a Counselor in Webster, NY, was seeing an increase in the number of clients seeking tele-therapy because of restricted movement in the wake of the new coronavirus infection, which the World Health Organization calls a “pandemic”.
Why More People Are Seeking Tele-Therapy?
The reason behind this shift is obvious: the fear of catching and/or communicating the COVID 19 bug during travel and personal interaction. Most patients, particularly those having psychological issues like anxiety, add to their experience of mental stress when they know there is risk of disease or infection out there. Hence therapy by video-conferencing, telephone, or any audio/voice chat method feels safer and more assuring than going out in person to see a therapist.
However, owing to the global scare surrounding this coronavirus infection, the number of patients seeking therapy for mental health reasons is likely on a rise too. With the media sources talking non-stop about the deaths and hospitalization of patients all around, being homebound for fear of catching infection and the scene of nearly abandoned roads and buildings outside are enough to cause a high level of anxiety and/or depression in people. Counselor Lisa Blalock was cited pointing to this factor.
She says empty grocery store aisles, and even events being canceled across the area and country, are adding to those stress levels. (cited speech)
Fear or insecurity can thus be regarded as the core cause behind this rise in the number of people opting for distant therapy methods.
Thinking Positive in Time of Isolation
What’s the key to combating insecurity in any situation? The most plausible answer is: focusing on the positive.
Losing work aka the money that keeps you going is one big concern that can bring loads of anxiety to those homebound by the coronavirus crisis. And this is particularly true of self-employed people, or small business owners, who can’t work or work enough to pay for basic needs. They can get some comfort in the thought of the government ready to send them their relief checks under the Coronavirus Stimulus package. The checks, worth $1200 each, are meant to help with basic needs like food, rent, water, and gas.
For the traveling and outgoing kind, who are likely finding this restricted movement annoying and depressing, there are always things that you can do at or around home to get the happiness that you otherwise would miss out on. Watching your favorite TV shows or movies, board games, working your backyard or garden, remodeling your house, and playing puzzles and trivia with your family or friends in the neighborhood are only some of the enjoyable activities to keep you mentally healthy.
For those who have faith or a spiritual side, prayers and meditation help big time when living through crises like the coronavirus epidemic. Being homebound or restricted to move just to the neighborhood park can provide a perfect opportunity for soul searching. Writers and creative minds can also capitalize on this opportunity to engage in empowering projects of art.
Now not to miss the financial side of it, therapy-seekers literally would pay a reduced cost of therapy for replacing the in-person sessions with tele/online ones. You save the gas money, don’t have to pay for parking if your therapist is downtown somewhere, save the time and effort it takes you prepare for going out, avoid the heat/cold outside, and others. How many do you think you can add to the list? Do share with us.
To sum it up, the need of the hour for mental health therapy seekers is making adjustments. From replacing the mode of mental therapy sessions to daily lifestyle changes, the period of restricted movement can be made less anxious/depressing or even quite relaxing by doing simple, enjoyable things with family, friends, and pets. The most important thing to remember is that we are not alone in this difficult time. We are all in this together, and we’ll come out of it safe and sound together.