Image Source: Getty / John Shearer
For those with mental illness, navigating this unprecedented novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can be especially difficult. That's why, on April 20, Demi Lovato announced the launch of a fundraising platform, the Mental Health Fund, to help support organizations with 24/7 crisis text lines located in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland. Lovato has been an advocate for mental health for years — she's struggled with addiction and with an eating disorder, and opened up about experiencing suicidal ideation, depression, and self-harm.
For the launch of this fund, Lovato joined forces with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite, and Canadian Family Foundations, according to a press release. The Mental Health Fund aims to raise $5 million through its GoFundMe page. Money will go to the Crisis Text Line in the US and similar crisis counseling organizations: Shout UK, Canada's Kids Help Phone, and Ireland's Spunout.ie. More than $2 million has been raised already, which will help these organizations grow to meet demand during this time.
"If it's a crisis to you, it's a crisis to us. No judgements. No fees. No app to download," states the GoFundMe page. Trained volunteers are equipped to aid those struggling with challenges such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, and eating disorders.
Lovato further wrote on Instagram, "So many have been left alone with their thoughts, their anxieties, their abusers — and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times. That is why I am helping to launch #TheMentalHealthFund to support organizations who are meeting the increased demand in crisis counseling due to COVID-19. You are not alone. Help is fast, free and available 24/7."
- In the USA: Text HOME to 741741
- In the UK: Text SHOUT to 85258
- In Canada: Text CONNECT to 686868 or 741741
- In Ireland: Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280
We have a guide to therapists' tips for navigating coronavirus anxiety, and you can also check out important information on teletherapy during this pandemic. As always, if you are feeling anxious or depressed and need help finding resources, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (1-240-485-1001) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264) are ideal places to start. If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal ideation or are at risk, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has several resources as well.