The Pandemic and Access to Therapy

It can be assumed the coronavirus outbreak has impacted our daily life, but what does it mean to our clients seeking help from the counseling community? 

It is crucial to understand the social ramifications perpetuated by the outbreak including people experiencing vulnerability, lack of safety, stress and trauma related symptoms as a result of a sense of “uncertainty about what might happen next to one’s life and health, the exponential curve of virus-confirmed cases and deaths in the nation as reported in the media, limited access or difficulty in accessing health benefits and financial constraints due to a recent job loss caused by the pandemic.” It is important to recognize these compounding or simultaneous stressors to then promote optimal care.

Additionally, individual fear and stress-based responses may be triggered in anticipation of the potential long-term effects of the virus.  Combined with the array of compounding or simultaneous stressors, it becomes difficult to return to a healthy physiological state and functioning. All the while, these stress-based responses are worsened among those who lack resources such as social support or are in places with executed states of emergency, prompting individuals to enter into social isolation. 

Social distancing, taken as a preventive measure to slow the spread of the disease, is disrupting not just employment and education opportunities but also access to emotional support from others by restricting regular social interactions. There is also an income disparity with some individuals not having access to technology to stay connected with people virtually for emotional support are especially susceptible to social isolation and social isolation is a risk factor for depression.

Furthermore, people are experiencing the deaths of loved ones and fellow community members with the rising mortality rate associated with COVID-19 and their family members are having to assume the role of caretakers with their vulnerable loved ones falling ill. Individuals are having abstain from other regular tasks and duties, newly given the responsibility to care for loved ones. They may need more convenient and low commitment options for getting the help they need in coping and mental health applications, such as Detrauma, may be a very viable option. Mental health apps may be helpful in anxiety management, information giving and be culturally responsive as well by being transcribed in multiple languages and therefore inclusive of a number of communities.