Mental Health Coping During COVID 19 Shelter-In-Place

By OnYourMind Staff

Feelings about COVID 19

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now due to COVID 19. Many countries are enacting quarantine and “shelter in place” rules to try and stop the spread of this virus. If you are someone who is immunocompromised, has underlying health conditions, or is a family member of a person with vulnerabilities, this time period might be especially terrifying. Negative feelings are normal and are valid at whatever intensity you are feeling them. 

You may be feeling stress or anxiety from the news and the situation, worried about your health and the health of your family- or even just worried about the world at large and what this means. There may also be stress due to being at home with family and not having access to outlets or systems of support from friends or school. 

There may also be frustration from seeing others not taking the situation seriously or not understanding how stressed or anxious you are feeling. You might even feel anger towards those who are stock piling groceries or who may not be as economically affected as your family. All of these feelings are totally understandable during this time of chaos. 

While we may not have access to some support systems or methods of coping, there are things we can do at home to help cope with our emotions and improve our mental health. 

Tips for taking care of your mental health at home

1. Find a space or a moment to be alone if you are feeling crowded by a full house or being around the same people all the time. You can lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes, use your headphones to play white noise, or go on a walk around the neighborhood (remember to stay at least 6ft away from other people). Knowing you have a way to create a quite space for yourself can help you cope with the close quarters of everyone being on top of each other. 

2. If you are feeling restless, anxious, or jittery, doing some intense exercise in a short burst may help. Try one minute of jumping jacks, running in place, or push-ups. Even pushing really hard against a wall can help process stress hormones out of your system. For more anxiety coping tips, read this blog post.

3. Check in with friends and family using Facetime, What’s App, Zoom, Discord, or other audio and video calling apps. If you don’t want to be overheard, use messaging apps for privacy. If your friends aren’t available, you can use hotlines or crisis chats. Check out our teen crisis chat or our hotline (650-579-0350) if you need to vent, want some support, or are in crisis. 

Free Apps for at-home mental health management 

There are lots of free apps that can help with managing your mental health while at home. Here are a few that can help with crisis intervention, symptom management (for anxiety, depression, etc.), and self-care. 

For crisis intervention and suicide prevention

My3 – Create a three-person support network and build your own safety plan for when you are in crisis. 

StayAlive – A suicide prevention app full of information to help you stay safe. Those who are worried about someone else can also use the app.

NotOK – Sends your support system a short message and your location with the click of a button so they know to check in on you.

Manage mental health symptoms 

What’s Up? – CBT and ACT “methods to help you cope with Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Stress and more.” Find it on Apple Store and Google Play.

MyPossibleSelf – Personalized self-help for whatever is happening in the moment using “different interactive learning modules based on proven psychological methods.”

Mindshift CBT – Evidence-based CBT strategies “to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety.”


#SelfCare – A little pocket world that has different activities to help you bring light into the moment.

Aloe Bud – Set notifications to do self-care activities in your schedule, like taking a break, drinking water, or completing a short writing prompt on what keeps you motivated. 

Stop, Breathe & Think – A five-minute mindfulness app that “helps you find peace anywhere,” through guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure videos. 

For other self-care resources, check out this self-care resource round-up

Remote Therapy Options

While we are limited in our ability to go places in-person, it can feel daunting to try and find a therapist. Though many clinicians are using telehealth appointments, a remote therapy app may be an easier way to connect you with a therapist right now. Check out the apps below if you are interested in remote therapy. All the apps listed below work with accredited clinicians vetted by the service. 

If you are currently seeing a therapist, make sure to reach out and ask them about their telehealth options. You may be able to continue your treatment using video calls.

TalkSpace – Talk to your therapist through text, calls, and video and they will respond daily, 5x per week. Plans start at $65 USD per week.

BetterHelp – Unlimited access to your clinician starting at $40 USD per week. There is a teen-specific usage model.

TeenCounseling – A teen specific counseling service where parents approve the therapist. Communication with the therapist is confidential unless an intervention is needed. Plans start at $40 USD per week.

Coping during this time is going to require flexibility, as we may be limited in accessing services and coping techniques we had used to help support our mental health. Try something new and see if it can make a positive difference for you. Above all, remember that this will not last forever. This pandemic will pass. With every new moment, there is a possibility things will change for the better. Hold on. We are here to support you.  

If you are in crisis or need to speak to someone, click here to go to our chat page or call our hotline (650-579-0350), which is available 24/7. Lifeline chat is also available.

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