Mental Health Resources for Artists Weathering COVID-19
How are you doing?
This question has rarely felt more fraught. Whether you’re in good physical health or not, the answer for many of us is “Not well.” If you’re finding that your creative outlet provided you with emotional stability and your human connections gave you mental wellbeing, you’re not alone in mourning as the arts and culture sector has effectively closed up shop and moved online.
We want you to keep making your art, but to do that, you need to have the right resources to take care of your mental health.
I’m a huge proponent of the power of therapy. Growing up in the suburbs, all I knew of therapy was what I saw on TV, mostly reruns of The Bob Newhart Show on Nick at Nite. In college, I saw friends of mine reap major benefits from counseling offered for free, and still I resisted taking the plunge myself. It wasn’t until a few years ago that my anxiety reached a point where I knew that I needed professional help and my therapist has helped me through some very challenging times. My semi-monthly therapy appointments remain crucial for me, perhaps now more than ever. Fortunately, my appointments are now virtual, so I can access help from the comfort of my home. And even better, certain insurers are waiving copays for telemedicine appointments like mine. Please check with your insurer and your plan to see if you qualify. Therapists, including online therapy apps, may also take clients who pay out of pocket, on a sliding scale, or using Medicare or Medicaid coverage.
While social media can be an important way to stay connected with the world around us, especially when many folks globally are dealing with social isolation, scrolling through our feeds can quickly trigger thoughts of panic and sadness. I personally have logged-out of a few different social media apps, likely never to return. Check in with how you are using social media, and try to consciously curate a feed that makes you feel more connected, rather than isolated and anxious.
Arts-Specific Mental Health Resources
A list of “organizations making a difference in support of music makers and their mental wellness.”
This free online workshop hosted by Creative Capital and artist/energy healer Rhonda Wheatley was “a conversation about wellness amid the isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty many are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.” Wheatley spoke about “how artists might rethink productivity, as many attempt to maintain a sense of business-as-usual when things are anything but usual.”
A list of healing arts programs for Military and Veteran Families.
Send Me A Friend “supports newly-sober musicians and music industry professionals who are on the road to a new way of life by helping get them back to work again.”
Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community.
General Mental Health Resources
“The Peer-Run Warm Line is a non-emergency resource for anyone in California seeking emotional support, providing assistance via phone and webchat on a nondiscriminatory basis to anyone in need."
A free text line for any kind of crisis.
Empower Work provides “free and confidential support for critical work moments”.
One of my therapist’s first simple recommendations was to try meditation, and I’ve been a subscriber to the Headspace app for over three and a half years. There are many meditation apps out there for you to look at, including many that are available for free.
Many members of the Fractured Atlas staff (myself included), have benefited from this free online course on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
“The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
A guide to navigating the COVID-19 crisis for people experiencing mental illness.
“Free digital mental health resources for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Crowdsourced Digital Healing Guide that includes mental-health related healing tools and resources.
“SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”
A list of “resources for anxiety and mental health in a global climate of uncertainty.”
Finding a mental health professional is easier than ever via an ever-expanding list of mobile apps.
“Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls.”
A directory of mental health resources that New Yorkers can access for free while staying home.
The Veterans Crisis Line provides access to “caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs, many of whom are Veterans themselves.”
“The Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP, is a self-designed prevention and wellness tool that anyone can use to get well, and stay well. WRAP is for anyone, any time, and for any of life's challenges.”
Statistics about the effectiveness of mindfulness, plus nine mindfulness exercises to try.
As an organization and as a group of people, Fractured Atlas wants you to take care of yourself. In addition to sharing these mental health resources, we hope that you’ll also check out some of the emergency financial relief opportunities available to artists, including some that are specific to artists of color.
About Nathan Zebedeo
Nathan Zebedeo is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2011, Nathan made the leap from card-carrying member of Fractured Atlas to an associate on our programs team, which he now co-manages. Prior to joining Fractured Atlas, Nathan helped produce celebrity author events at Barnes & Noble’s flagship Union Square location. Outside of work, Nathan directs the occasional play. He enjoys board games, learning languages, and travel.