Hi, Asheville. 👋 Brook here. If there’s one topic that’s near and dear to my heart, it’s mental health. When I was growing up, my beloved aunt (also my daughter’s namesake) was the head nurse at Broughton Hospital in nearby Morganton, so the importance of mental health was always highlighted. My own lifelong struggles with depression + anxiety have also inspired me to treat my mental health as tantamount to my physical health.
This pandemic hasn’t done my — or anyone else’s — mental health any favors. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
- 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness each year.
- 1 in 6 youth (ages 6-17) experiences a mental health disorder each year.
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34.
These stats were drawn from data gathered in 2018, and since then, mental illness rates have increased.
According to Mental Health America, data shows that there was a 19% increase in clinical anxiety in the first weeks of February, and a 12% increase in the first two weeks of March this year – both times in which major changes were occurring nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is a stressful time for everyone, and for many, it can take a significant toll on mental health. Loneliness, fear, financial trouble, + other emotional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis can lead people to feel out of control.
Today, I’m sharing some local resources I got from you — our readers — who wrote in to let us know about area spots offering affordable mental health options during the pandemic.
- Care for Corona is a grassroots organization of local psychotherapists + healers offering virtual, short-term, and free-of-charge support to Buncombe County healthcare professionals (including mental healthcare professionals).
- Jamie Earnhardt is a mental health counselor in private practice offering sliding scale options. Her areas of focus are disordered eating, body concerns, anxiety, and depression. She also accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and offers telehealth video meetings.
- Michael Faulkner is a practicing therapist with private patients and clients in assisted living establishments. He offers Zoom sessions and accepts all insurances, Medicare + Medicaid. He also offers a sliding scale.
- NAMI Western Carolina — our local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness — is checking & responding to phone and email messages while their physical offices are closed. They are also hosting virtual Family Support Group meetings via Zoom. Find details on these virtual meetings here.
- Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a national nonprofit based in Asheville with many therapists who offer sliding-scale rates between $30-60/session. Most therapists in the collective are now offering online or teletherapy. Search by zipcode to find a practitioner here.
- Still Waters Healing Arts offers virtual, sliding-scale sessions to anyone whose ability to generate income has been impacted by the pandemic.
- Trimeria offers perinatal mental health services and trauma-informed yoga + meditation instruction online and with a sliding scale of $25-$60 per hour.
- Vaya Health serves people with Medicaid or no insurance who need help with mental health, substance use, and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities. They also offer free, 24/7 emotional support + crisis counseling to all North Carolinians through their Hope4NC Helpline at (855) 587-3463.
Did we forget any other affordable local mental health resources? Please be sure to let us know in the comments below. ⬇️