More people turning to virtual counseling for mental health help during COVID-19 pandemic

Therapists say main concerns are financial, family
Talkspace Live Video Therapy
Posted at 5:21 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 07:25:08-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- More people are now turning to virtual counseling as a means of managing the pressure, depression and anxiety that can come along with the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine.

Dr. Amy Cirbus is the Director of Clinical Content at Talkspace, an online therapy platform. She is also a New York Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She is personally talking with many people who are seeking out therapy for the first time virtually.

"We're dealing with the mental health challenges that are out there and seeing the pain and disruption to life," Cirbus said. "But, the heartening part is that people are actually reaching out."

Cirbus said at Talkspace, they've seen the number of people seeking help grow 10 times since March 5.

"So, we're getting an influx of both people who are seeking help, and also people who want to provide the help," Cirbus said.

So far, Talkspace therapists say they have seen many people dealing with extreme stress and anxiety during the pandemic.

"What that filters down to is stress about financial security, stress about trying to juggle working from home, and also schooling children at home," Cirbus said. "It's about stress and anxiety and worry about what it's going to look like when things do start to reopen."

If you are considering seeking virtual therapy sessions, expect a few differences and a multitude of options to get started.

Some companies like Talkspace provide messaging only options, similar to texting so that you can chat with a licensed mental health professional on your own time. You can also schedule virtual video chats that are HIPAA protected and confidential.

Companies like Talkspace offer both private pay and accept many insurance plans.

Beyond companies like Talkspace, many of your local, in-person mental health professionals are still continuing to accept new clients and are willing to conduct HIPAA-protected video sessions.