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The best COVID-19 hotlines and mental health resources

Rely on these hotlines, support groups and other resources for help during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has plagued the United States for nearly a year now, and fear, stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have led to heightened feelings of anxiety and depression. While the US government hasn’t set up federal coronavirus hotlines, there are various state governments and nonprofits you can turn to for help.

A state-by-state list of COVID-19 hotlines

Most states have set up hotlines to offer coronavirus-related advice. And if not, you can likely call 211 to get directed to community information and referral services in your area.

If you’re concerned you’ve been exposed to the virus and are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever or cough, most state health departments recommend that you call your primary care provider first. If you don’t have one, state hotlines can help you figure out next steps to take and where to get tested.

If you believe you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance.

StateCOVID-19 resources available
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
  • Hotline: 833-427-5634
  • Website: Ohio Department of Health
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington, D.C.
West Virginia

Mental health hotlines

The spread of COVID-19 has created a large amount of uncertainty and anxiety. Whether you’re concerned about your health, job security or feeling isolated because of social distancing, turn to these national resources for help:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 800-273-8255 to get connected to 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. You can also chat with someone online by visiting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor 24/7. You can find even more resources available on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.
  • Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for 24/7 support through the Crisis Text Line.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline. Call 800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522 to connect with a trained domestic violence advocate. You can also chat with someone online by visiting the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255 to get connected to crisis intervention specifically for veterans and their loved ones. Or chat with someone online by visiting the Veterans Crisis Line website.

On top of these helplines, a wide range of additional mental health services are available for access from your home. Use the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website to find a list of mental health resources available if you’re concerned for yourself or someone you love.

Does health insurance cover therapy?

It depends on your plan, but in most cases health insurance will cover teletherapy — which means you can book a virtual consultation with a licensed therapist, counselor, clinical social worker or psychologist.

Most major health insurers have expanded their telehealth networks during COVID-19 to align with social distancing guidelines, and Medicare has also waived many restrictions while we’re in a state of national emergency.

You can also look into mental health apps to help you manage any emotions you’re experiencing as a result of the pandemic. Apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace can connect you to a licensed mental health professional, and typically offer financial aid to those who can’t afford the full cost of the service.

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COVID-19 support groups

A growing number of online support groups have popped up specifically for people who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, are experiencing symptoms or are recovering from the virus. With so many resources out there for ways not to contract the virus, these groups were formed to help individuals with COVID-19 navigate feeling isolated, misunderstood and ignored.

  • COVID-19 Survivor Corps Support Group. This public Facebook group was founded by Diana Berrent, a COVID-19 survivor who wanted to provide a space for people recovering from the coronavirus to connect during one of the scariest points in their lives. Discussions range from talk of symptoms and treatment methods to antibody testing and plasma donations.
  • Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group. What started as a small Instagram group chat has morphed into a worldwide support group on Slack with over 4,000 members. Discussion groups include channels for people dealing with the coronavirus and asthma or diabetes, those who’ve recovered from being on ventilators and many more. You can sign up to join the group by filling out a five-question form online.
  • COVID-19 Support Group (Have It / Had It). This private Facebook group offers a community forum for people who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus or likely have it to offer support, strength and hope by sharing their own stories and experiences.
  • Nursing License Map’s Eating Disorder Recovery guide. While not strictly related to COVID-19, this resource aims to help those who have or are suffering from disordered eating, which is often linked to emotional stress. The physical isolation and transitions of the global health crisis may exacerbate those feelings, and the guide includes practical, actionable tips as well as advice for building a recovery community.

Resources available for healthcare workers

As healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic deal with unprecedented stress, we’ve seen a resurgence of making mental health services more readily available to nurses, doctors, EMTs and other healthcare professionals.

Many hospitals around the country have created wellness task forces and other programs to help physicians and nurses deal with burnout and reinforce well-being during this pandemic.

For example, the University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa is offering free mental health care to any medical professional or first responder in Alabama. And Rush University Medical Center in Chicago created a Wellness Response Team made up of 25 experts — including psychiatrists, chaplains, psychologists and advanced practice providers — to support healthcare workers and promote mental health and well-being.

In addition, lawmakers are petitioning to include funding for mental health screenings and treatment for healthcare workers in the next coronavirus stimulus package.

Bottom line

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had tangible effects on Americans’ mental health. Rely on these hotlines, support groups and mental health resources to get help and advice, and check for updates related to the coronavirus as they become available.

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