Support for Mental Health and Addiction Issues During COVID-19

Verywell / Hugo Lin 

Key Takeaways

  • It's essential for those with existing mental health and addiction issues to stay connected and seek support during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are many substance abuse and mental health helplines, hotlines, apps, and online resources available during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staying connected to support and services during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for the millions of people who are struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse addiction and recovery. We are social creatures who crave connection with others, which becomes even more apparent for people struggling with mental health and addiction since social isolation can cause these issues to become especially difficult to manage. 

Social Distancing Is Affecting Mental Health

Dayry Hulkow, the primary therapist at Arete Recovery, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility, explains that "love and belonging are fundamental human needs, and in the absence of these, both our physical and mental wellbeing can be seriously compromised." Social distancing and stay-at-home orders can pose significant challenges, particularly for individuals with existing conditions. 

“There is an abundance of evidence linking social isolation and loneliness to mental health and addiction issues,” Hulkow says. Some major concerns during this time include stress, anxiety, clinical depression, suicidal thoughts, disordered eating patterns, substance abuse, and other addictive behaviors.

That’s why it’s essential for people with existing mental health and addiction issues to stay connected to help through any and all available means. Hulkow says this starts with a strong support system at home or within reach that includes supportive family members and friends and extends to being actively involved in 12-step fellowship or other self-help organizations for ongoing support.

She also says it’s important to reach out for emotional support or professional help when needed. The good news is there are many helplines, hotlines, and online resources available, both nationally and locally, that are easily accessible by phone, email, or online during the coronavirus pandemic.

While not an extensive list, these websites, hotlines, online meetings, and virtual therapy apps can help you find at-home support for mental health and substance abuse issues during the COVID-19 social distancing mandate and stay at home orders. 

Online Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is offering virtual meetings, phone calls, and emails during the COVID-19 crisis. 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is an online resource for suicide awareness and prevention with blog posts focused specifically on taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a comprehensive page dedicated to the coronavirus disease and how to manage anxiety and stress.

Cocaine Anonymous 

Cocaine Anonymous is offering free, voice-only, online meetings and email services for anyone impacted by cocaine use. 

Mental Health America

Mental Health America has a comprehensive resource dedicated to mental health and COVID-19 that includes information on anxiety, medication, substance use, recovery, eating disorders, stress, and general tips on how to manage mental health issues during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Narcotics Anonymous 

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is offering meetings online and by phone while their in-person meetings are temporarily shut down.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide that takes a deep dive into the major issues people are facing, including anxiety, feeling isolated and alone, finding a therapist to work with online, support for caretakers, and more. 

National Eating Disorder Association

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is offering the NEDA Connections Video Series, a new online program that offers 10- to 20-minute check-ins, resources, activities, and presentations from various NEDA community leaders such as staff, volunteers, eating disorders professionals, and more. You can still access NEDA's main website for in-depth information and resources on eating disorders awareness, treatment, and recovery. 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a government-run site that has a helpful online tool designed to help people who might be having trouble with alcohol.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a government-run site that has resources and information about prevention, treatment, and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. 

National Institute of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is a government-run site that has resources and information about prevention, treatment, and recovery from mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Overeaters Anonymous 

At this time, Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is not offering online meetings, but they are still providing resources on treatment and recovery on their website via podcasts, their bookstore, and document library. 

SMART Recovery 

SMART Recovery, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, offers mutual support meetings for individuals, family, and friends dealing with addiction recovery. They are currently operating most, and soon all, of their in-person meetings online. They also have a strong online community with weekly online meetings and message boards. 

Tempest Recovery Program

Tempest's online program provides comprehensive strategies for anyone trying to get sober or simply change their relationship with alcohol. Members gain access to accountability coaching, psychosocial education materials, and an entire community of individuals on the path to recovery.

Tempest is currently offering a variety of free resources specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a meditation guide to help with stress reduction during times of crisis.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides resources to help reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness. They have a COVID-19 resource guide that assists individuals, providers, and communities with finding support and information pertaining to substance abuse and mental health issues. 

Teen Counseling

If you have a teenager in need of mental health services, the Teen Counseling website will match you with a licensed therapist that specializes in teens dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. Once you approve the match, the therapist will then connect with your teen via an app on their phone.

Hotlines and Helplines

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline


The National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline offers free support and resources for people living with a mental health condition or family members and caregivers providing support to someone with a mental illness.

National Eating Disorder Association Helpline


Use the National Eating Disorder Association Helpline number to speak with a live, trained volunteer about concerns related to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, exercise addiction, and other disordered eating conners. For crisis situations that need immediate attention, you can also text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides support from counselors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you or someone you love is experiencing emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, or any other type of crisis, this hotline provides free and confidential support. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National Helpline


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National Helpline provides confidential and free treatment referral routing services to individuals and family members dealing with addiction and mental health issues. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids


Text a message to 55753

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers free and confidential support for individuals and family members dealing with substance use and addiction. Specialists are available to talk on the phone or by email

Teen Line


Teen Line offers teen-to-teen counseling services both via text message and through email. Their phone hotline is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Text “TEEN” to 839863 or email. See their website for more information. 

Subscription-Based Apps and Websites for Mental Health Services

Better Help

Better Help is an online resource dedicated to helping you find a licensed therapist to work with online or on their app. After completing a questionnaire, a computer program will match you with a therapist for your specific needs.

Better Help is a paid subscription service. But through a partnership with Thoughtful Human, you can get a month of free online therapy. Ali O’Grady, founder and CEO of Thoughtful Human, says this partnership is allowing our community to prioritize their mental health regardless of their immediate financial constraints.


MD Live offers access to online counseling services, psychiatrists, and other medical doctors.


Known as one of the top online counseling resources, Talkspace gives you access to thousands of licensed therapists. After completing a questionnaire, a computer program will match you with a therapist for your specific needs.

Mindfulness Meditation and Stress Reduction Resources


Aura, the app for mindfulness, sleep, and emotional health, is offering a free 3-month subscription to help people fight coronavirus anxiety. All you have to do is use the code: “FINDPEACE2020” at Aura health, and you will get unlimited access to mindfulness meditations, life coaching, inspiring stories, and music, created by the world's best emotional health and sleep coaches. 


Headspace is offering free meditations you can listen to anytime as part of a larger collection called Weathering the Storm. Topics include relieving stress, walking at home, and feeling overwhelmed. 

Stop Breathe and Think 

Stop Breathe and Think is a mindfulness meditation app that can help you manage stress, anxiety, panic, and worry during the COVID-19 crisis. 

YouTube Videos to Develop Good Mental Health Habits

Jud Brewer, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist, addiction psychiatrist, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, has been putting out short videos daily on YouTube to help people develop good mental habits instead of getting stuck in anxiety and endlessly checking the news.

For each topic, he starts with a little science of what is going on (such as how anxiety + social contagion = panic) and then gives a practical tip that you can start practicing today.  

What This Means For You

Finding support during this difficult time is essential for both our physical and mental health. While these resources can provide excellent information, access to licensed therapists, and online meetings and support groups, they are not a substitution for emergency care.

If you’re thinking about suicide or suspect someone you love is in danger of hurting themselves, seek help immediately. Call 911, and if possible, stay with a friend or family member until you are in the care of a mental health expert. 

The Verywell team is here for you during this difficult time. We will continue to update our website and provide you with the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and your health. Take care and be well.

Helpful Links

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

By Sara Lindberg, M.Ed
Sara Lindberg, M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on mental health, fitness, nutrition, and parenting.