Our frontline workers and first responders need resources for managing stress and mental health now more than ever. Luckily, several organizations are providing free offers for first responders to help them through this challenging time. From free online mental health services to free meditation apps and resources for staying safe on the job, we’ve got frontline workers covered through COVID-19.
Free Online Mental Health Counseling for First Responders
Talkspace is an online mental health platform that matches counselors and therapists with patients. Therapists conduct all sessions online (through text, video, or voice chats as well as online virtual sessions). It is widely known as one of the largest online mental health providers, thanks to its network of over 3,000 therapists and psychiatrists.
This telemental health platform has gone above and beyond to add resources for healthcare providers and frontline workers dealing with COVID-19 patients (and who may be battling the disease themselves). Free resources include articles, a Facebook support group, and mental health tips for the entire community.
In addition to these resources, Talkspace is also offering free online therapy for frontline healthcare workers. It has donated more than 2,000 hours of free therapy to medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, and social workers.
The platform has also established free coronavirus counseling (separate from regular counseling sessions) for all Talkspace members.
Wysa is an online mental healthcare platform geared toward medical professionals and anyone who works non-traditional hours. Licensed therapists are available at any time — day or night — to lend an ear.
This safe and anonymous platform fills a hole in the telemental healthcare market by hiring professionals who are available after regular business hours. Patients can simply chat about their stressors or get helpful tips, tricks, and activities to help relax and calm down after a stressful day.
Right now, Wysa is offering free premium services to frontline healthcare workers. Its goal is to help prevent burnout from working long hours and lack of time for self-care. Healthcare workers simply need to head over to Wysa’s homepage to get a coupon code for free online therapy.
Ginger is another online mental health app specializing in on-demand therapy. Ginger patients never need to wait to talk to a therapist, as professionals are on hand at any time of the day or night to chat.
This app melds behavioral text therapy with other types of traditional therapy and psychiatry for a holistic treatment plan. Ginger team specialists work together to create a program that’s individualized for each patient. The approach also focuses on preventative mental health and strives to catch behavioral and mental health issues before they become unmanageable.
Right now, Ginger is offering free on-demand mental healthcare to frontline workers (through June 2020). Therapists are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week; this means, any healthcare worker can get immediate treatment regardless of shift hours.
If you’re a first responder living in Oklahoma, you can join the state-wide support group for COVID-19 emergency, medical, fire, and police personnel. Simply call the support verification phone number (or fill out the form online) to see if you’re eligible for the group. Once you have been verified, you’ll receive further instructions on joining one of two support groups.
The state is also running similar support groups for individuals of the general public dealing with high levels of coronavirus-related stress. Other groups include stress management for:
- COVID-19 survivors
- Individuals grieving the loss of a family member
- PTSD sufferers
- Suicide survivors
- Homeschooling parents and teachers
- People with mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.)
- Victims of domestic assault/abuse
Free Meditation and Mindfulness for First Responders
While meditation isn’t a substitute for mental health services, it can help ease anxiety and depression. First responders who need a little help easing stress (before, during, and after a shift) can get free access to Headspace’s meditation platform.
Normally $12.99 a month (or $95 a year), developers have decided to offer first responders free access to the app’s subscription content. The app offers basic mediation instruction and problem-specific prompts to help destress and find a little peace and calm.
The TappingSolution uses emotional freedom tapping (EFT) to help rewire the body’s nervous system. Users can follow along, tapping on meridian points (similar to ones used in acupressure and acupuncture) while repeating a series of prompts to help destress.
While users must pay $12.99 a month to access the app’s subscription meditations, the TappingSolution has an extensive library of free meditations.
Meditations geared toward PTSD survivors, teachers, healthcare professionals, and COVID-19-related stressors are always free to access.
Free Online Training for First Responders
Most medical professionals are not supplied with training or resources necessary to operate in a coronavirus-ridden world. That’s why the next online resources on this list are solely devoted to free COVID-19 training for healthcare professionals.
IntelyCare now has a free COVID-19 training certificate program for nurses and other frontline medical professionals.
The American Nurses Association is also offering a free COVID-19 training program for nurses. This program focuses on providing the best care for patients while helping medical professionals protect themselves from the virus.
The American Association of Critical Care Nurses is now offering a free online course entitled, Pulmonary, ARDS, and Ventilator Resources. This course is geared to helping first responders understand equipment used in coronavirus and respiratory care.
Osmosis offers a free has COVID-19 course for health professionals on imaging features and body temperature assessments. Program students are eligible for 2 CME credits.
The platform also hosts online AMA events as well as meditation and yoga sessions.
Online Medicare Coverage Expansion for Medicare
President Trump recently expanded Medicare benefits to include telehealth visits, allowing Medicare patients to still communicate with their doctors during stay-at-home orders — and possibly even after the first few phases of reopening.
Previously, telehealth Medicare coverage was limited and only available for seniors living in rural areas without easy access to a primary care physician. Medicare will also cover coronavirus screenings and help patients determine if they should seek emergency medical treatment or in-person testing for COVID-19.
Are you offering free mental health services for first responders? Let us know, and we’ll help spread the word!