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Validate Your Mental State

man on phone

Studies by the American Psychological Association found that social isolation can contribute to anxiety and depression. As the world self isolates to curb the spread of COVD-19, we searched for problem solvers keeping people connected, while physically apart. From texting services, to phone calls, to shared audio experiences, we found people from around the world helping each other cope in creative ways.

Crisis Text Line

While technology keeps us connected, the Crisis Text Line emphasizes the importance of active listening. Kara Silverman is a “crisis counselor” in training. “A huge part of Crisis Text Line,” she said, “is validating someone's feelings as real and just letting them know that it's okay to feel whatever they're feeling.”

While the 2013 program was originally founded to support youth, they have seen an uptick in adult users, particularly in their thirties and forties, many of whom Silverman assumes are parents looking for support as they deal with the challenges of parenting and keeping up with their jobs 24/7. 

If you are in crisis right now, text HOME to 741741 to be connected with a crisis counselor within 5 minutes.

The Validation Station

The Validation Station was created to support queer individuals. It is a daily text message service that sends customized affirmations, which include the person’s name and pronouns. Kestral, a programmer and social care worker created the service to support LGBTQ+ people who may be in quarantine with unsupportive family members.

“I'd like to think that when someone receives a message from the validation station...it's something that pops up in their periphery and just adds a little strength to that day, adds a little more to their armor,” said Kestrel. The service now reaches more than 8,000 people in four countries. 

Quarantine Chat

For people looking for more traditional forms of communication, Quarantine Chat is a new “line” available in the DialUp app, a service that aims to revive “the magic of talking on the phone”. Quarantine Chat connects callers around the globe and kicks off conversations with a prompt, like “If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?”.

“When you talk to someone who's not related to you or has a different set of experiences from you, it changes the way that you think,” said DialUp co-creator Max Hawkins. “And if you are stuck at home with any without those sorts of random interactions, it's really easy to kind of get stuck in your own head. So we realized that we might be able to help in some way by connecting people to have these conversations. That's why we launched Quarantine Chat.”

Sounds of Comfort During Quarantine

Sometimes, even just hearing familiar sounds can be calming and offer a respite from the stresses of isolated living. San Francisco based radio producer Emily Shaw took that concept to heart and sourced audio from people around the world to stitch together into a short audio composition she called Sounds of Comfort During Quarantine:

“Alone we have our things that are helping us,” Shaw said. “But when we come together, we can create something for everyone. That's kind of better than the sum of its parts.”

Emily Shaw · Sounds of Comfort During Quarantine: A Global Audio Experiment


Get In Touch

How have you been taking care of your mental health? Share your stories and questions with us at [email protected]. We’ll be back next Tuesday with another episode focused on mental health, where we’ll be speaking with a therapist about the mental health crisis they’ve been witnessing, how they’re preparing for the road ahead, and what we can do to help the mental health helpers. 

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