Around the world, people are responding in their own way to the spread of COVID-19. We have all had to make small and massive adjustments to our daily lives in the effort to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. And although we know that these kinds of changes are for the good of everyone, having to respond to crisis in so short a time can leave us feeling anxious, panicky, angry, and even let down or alone. COVID-19 is a real threat to our physical health—but it also could pose challenges for our mental health, too.
Here’s what Depth Counseling is doing to continue offering counseling services during COVID-19:
- We are still seeing our clients—via online video sessions. We consider therapy to be an “essential service”: social services like ours are still functioning even with the mandate to shelter in place, so we are still offering psychotherapy to our clients via our teletherapy platform.
- We are still covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. Governor Pritzker of Illinois recently signed an executive order declaring teletherapy services would be “fully reimbursed by insurers,” “just as if the patient had come into the doctor’s office.”
- We are reaching our clients in any way that works for them. Our patient portal provides an easy-to-use telehealth platform that’s simple to access. We just send you an email with a link that connects you virtually to your therapist. However, thanks to HIPAA rules temporarily easing up on what counts as acceptable methods of communication, we can also reach our clients in any way that’s easiest for them. This means that we can now talk via apps like Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp.
- We are still offering sliding scale rates. In this time of mandated quarantine, we understand that many people have been impacted financially due to furlough, hiatus, decreased hours, or full job loss. At Depth Counseling we are very proud to offer low-fee therapy and accept BCBS Medicaid.
- We can provide therapy over the phone. Again, thanks to more lenient HIPAA rules, we can most definitely go old school: sessions by phone are also available during this time. So even if you don’t have access to video services or you don’t have adequate WiFi/data, we are happy to speak with you via a conventional phone call.
We at Depth understand that video sessions are also a change from the status quo. You may have feelings of uncertainty or reluctance about switching to teletherapy sessions or starting up with a brand new therapist over the phone. It can be hard enough going to therapy (or starting therapy) when it’s in person! But healthcare experts across the country are emphasizing the need for mental health. Especially in a time of emergency, having the support of a mental health professional could prove crucial.
Anxiety comes to us for myriad reasons, and our response to a large-scale emergency can be just as varied. You may feel very shocked and frozen; you may feel angry and defiant; you may feel abandoned and alone. The reason our responses to crises vary comes in large part from the way we’ve had to deal with crises before, as well as the way we’ve seen crises dealt with in our early life. A therapist can help you make sense of your anxiety and where it comes from; they can also help you find effective ways of coping with your feelings based on that understanding. These coping mechanisms will be effective and unique to you because they come directly from your understanding of yourself.
COVID-19 can be frightening, but we are all in this together. We are staying inside as much as we can to protect one another and ourselves, and we are doing our very best. We are all very human right now. We are all feeling vulnerable and likely uncertain and confused. We as humans can talk about these feelings, share our anxieties with one another, and even (via video sessions) share our homes with one another. If you feel that you need support, please reach out to the nearest human. We are here to help.