The mental health of people all over the globe is being critically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Virgin Unite and the Virgin Group are working to support Crisis Text Line, Shout, Kids Help Phone and SpunOut.ie, who provide free, 24/7 support for anyone in a mental health crisis – all via text.
As a result of the coronavirus these organisations have experienced a collective 40 per cent increase in texter volume in March – seeing crisis intervention via text filling a crucial gap in mental health care systems. Thanks to these incredible organisations and their remote network of trained volunteers, people are on stand-by and ready to help through these unprecedented times. “The mental health impacts of COVID-19 are intense - and we want to assure anyone that might be suffering that we are here to help,” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and founder of Crisis Text Line.
To further prepare for the coming months, Crisis Text Line, along with Demi Lovato, Virgin Unite, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Family Foundations and Draper Richards Kaplan, have launched The Mental Health Fund (now live on GoFundMe) to help to raise money for these organisations.
$2 million has already been raised by the founding group to help individuals cope with the mental health and behavioral impact of COVID-19.
“We are so honoured to support the critical work of the incredible people behind the Mental Health Fund who will help many people during these toughest of times. There has never been a more important time for their work. The need for mental health support will continue for years to come. We all need to get behind helping them reach their goal to ensure they can continue to provide quality support 24/7,” said Richard Branson.
The organisations supported by the fund will recruit, train, and support volunteers who help texters struggling to cope with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges.
“So many people have been left alone with their thoughts, their abusers, their anxieties – and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times,” said Demi Lovato. “I know not everyone has the ability to get the help they need so my hope is that this fund can bring support to help alleviate some of the hardship and pain people are going through.”
Beyond financially supporting the fund, you can help the cause by:
Sharing the support numbers to your colleagues, friends and family members:
- USA: text 741741
- UK: text 85258
- Canada: text 686868
- Ireland: text 086 1800 280
Helping to recruit volunteers. If appropriate please inform your colleagues, friends and family members of the opportunity to train and volunteer virtually as Crisis Counsellors. Crisis Text Line and Shout have also started a special text line for frontline workers who will need this support more than ever.
Wave one of this mental health crisis has resulted in intense anxiety and underlying uncertainty. This continues, but now we're also seeing the start of wave two – the impact of the quarantines themselves. Crisis support in the coming months will be more crucial than ever – let’s work together to share this information and support to as many people as possible.
If you’re experiencing anxiety during these times, your feelings are 100 per cent valid. The Crisis Text Line, Shout and Kids Help Phone want to help you manage your anxiety and have crisis counsellors ready to help.