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Here Are Some Free Resources To Care For Your Mental Health

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These are trying times. The shelter-in-place order and quarantines related to COVID-19 have turned normal life upside down. Between the financial stress and inability to visit with loved ones, people are likely to experience some elevated stress and mental health issues.

There are enjoyable ways people can help mitigate stress levels at home. Exercising, listening to music, cooking, gardening, reading, taking a walk or playing board games with family can ease some of those tensions. If you need a moment to yourself, try a hot shower or bath and consider some pampering while you’re at it.

Although cleaning doesn’t always sound appealing, experts say people with clean houses and spaces are generally healthier physically and mentally.

For some, there will still be tough moments or even crises that emerge. If you’re experiencing a crisis and need immediate help, there is no shame in reaching out.

We’ve put together a list of free resources for meditation, stress management, text counseling, depression therapy, addiction support and crisis hotlines to make it a little easier to find the help you need without having to leave the house.

Crisis hotlines are available 24 hours a day for every Bay Area county:

  • Alameda County: 1-800-273-8255
  • Contra Costa County: 1-800-833-2900
  • Marin County: 415-473-6666
  • Napa County: 707-253-4711
  • San Francisco: 415-781-0500 or
  • San Mateo County: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Santa Clara County: 1-855-278-4204
  • Solano County: 707-428-1131
  • Sonoma County: 707-576-8181

People from anywhere in the U.S. can also text HOME to 741741 for help from a trained crisis counselor who will respond on a secure platform. The counselors are not equipped to provide medical advice but are trained to help people move from a “hot moment to a cool moment.”

Meditation can help people cope with elevated stress during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Calm app — available for smartphones, tablets and desktops — is offered free in a limited version. The service provides meditation, sleep help, relaxing music, video lessons to improve mindful body movement, natural imagery and mindfulness masterclasses.

You can access more details and sign up for a little serenity on Calm’s website.

Canadian-based Bliss is a not-for-profit company that offers free online interactive therapy for people suffering from depression. Users can remain anonymous as they participate in an eight-session program that includes tools to help people understand and manage their moods more effectively.

People trying to maintain sobriety and cannot attend regular in-person Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can find support and camaraderie remotely. The AA Online Intergroup provides several resources for those struggling with alcohol. People can visit the site to find links to connect with other members for fast and confidential help, online versions of program literature and an online locator for in-person or virtual meetings.

Narcotics Anonymous also offers several options for virtual support. A list of meeting times and links can be found here.

Again, please reach out for help when you need it and remember that we’re all in this together.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.