Between the polarized candidates, the global pandemic and racial tensions in this country, you would have to be superhuman to not be feeling especially anxious right now. Not to mention the fact that we likely won’t know the outcome of the election for a few more days. Fortunately, there is a range of free and low-cost options to help tend to your mental wellbeing during this nerve-racking time (and beyond). Here are five free mental health resources for New Yorkers dealing with election stress (aka, all of us).
1. NYC Well
NYC Well is a free and confidential resource for New Yorkers seeking mental health support. Speak to a trained counselor or peer support specialist via phone, text or chat. This service is available 24/7 and is also available in 200+ different languages. The website also offers coping and wellness tips such as breathing techniques and mindfulness.
2. 7 Cups
This multi-feature app offers anonymous emotional support by connecting people experiencing emotional distress with trained listeners. 7 Cups’ options for support include chatbot, one-on-one chats with listeners and community forums (note: these are not moderated), personalized self-guided activities and educational videos. The app is free but there are extra costs ($13/month or $95/year) to access more self-guided content and 1:1 conversations with therapists.
Happify offers evidence-based game-like tools to improve your emotional wellbeing. (Because who says that working on your mental health can’t be fun?) Tools and activities focus on decreasing stress and anxiety, as well as improving mood. The app is free with the option to pay ($15/month or $140/year) for additional mindfulness tracks, games, and tracking capabilities.
This popular app offers guided meditation and educational animations designed to reduce stress, and improve sleep, focus, and happiness. Headspace even has a special set of meditations for election stress. The app is free although content beyond the first 10 sessions costs for $13/month or $95/year.
5. These 10 therapy-approved tips
We tapped Rachel Gersten, licensed mental health counselor and co-founder of Viva Wellness and Dr. Sherry Benton, PhD, psychologist, founder and chief science officer of TAO Connect, for their top tips to cope with election stress. From square breathing to time limits on watching the news, read up on their advice to feel more zen now.
And one more thing...
As with any other life challenge, working with a therapist can help you get through this. Not sure how to find one? Check out our handy guide here. And if you’re worried about cost, know that many therapists offer a sliding scale. This means that they offer different pricing based on your income level (i.e., those earning less income will pay less for a therapy session and those on the higher end of the income spectrum will pay a greater amount).