Digital Behavioral Providers Offer Free Services to Health Care Workers For COVID-19 Stress

Multiple virtual behavioral health companies are offering their services to health care workers for free amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Three such providers are Headspace, Orbit Health Telepsychiatry and Ginger.

Headspace, a digital provider of mental wellness, mindfulness and meditation services, announced Monday that it will provide free subscriptions for the year to American health care professionals working in public health settings.


The Santa Monica, California-based company is providing access through its Headspace Plus subscription service, with the goal being to address stress and burnout amongst health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s crucial for us to find ways to support our healthcare workers’ mental health and provide them with tools for managing the very real personal toll this crisis takes on them in particular,” Megan Jones Bell, Headspace’s chief science officer, told Behavioral Health Business in an email.

Even before the pandemic, health care professionals were experiencing significant levels of stress and burnout.


Approximately 44% of physicians said they had at least one symptom of burnout, according to a study published last year by the Mayo Clinic, done in conjunction with the American Medical Association and Stanford University.

That figure is more than 10 percentage points higher than that of the American workforce at large.

Additionally, 92% of nurses reported experiencing moderate to very high levels of stress, according to a 2018 study in the journal Nursing Research and Practice.

“This is a trying time for everyone, and our biggest priority at the moment is the health and wellbeing of our team and the global community we’re part of,” Bell said. “We’re working hard to provide Headspace access to those who most need it and to support members as we navigate this stressful and uncertain time together.”

Also on Monday, Encino, California-based Orbit Health announced it will provide telepsychiatry services to health care community leaders and other professionals working on the front lines of the pandemic, as well as to their families.

The effort is called the Community Leaders Support Initiative (CLSI).

The services are free for CLSI participants for as long as Orbit has the capacity to offer them, allowing people to immediately access assessment and treatment for conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression.

“We intend to [provide this service] free of charge until we run out of the ability to do that,” Orbit Health CEO Edward Kaftarian told BHB. “After that, we’ll offer it at cost.”

Kaftarian said that the goal of CLSI is to help healthcare executives and leaders manage their mental health during this stressful time.

“[These are] people who are trying to care for other people, [and] they often put themselves last,” Kaftarian said. “If they or their families need help in the form of psychiatric care, then we want to be able to offer that help for them.”

CLSI wellness services will be delivered by board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, as well as experts specializing in substance use disorder (SUD) and pediatric health.

Workers eligible for services include program directors and hospital administrators primarily working in health care, Kaftarian said. The company will open it up to other workers depending on how much demand they see.

San Francisco-based Ginger — a digital provider of behavioral health coaching, psychiatry and therapy — is also rolling out free wellness services to health workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

The company, which provides services to users by video and text, announced the new option Friday.

Eligible health care workers will be able to work with Ginger coaches to manage stress and anxiety, promote meditation and mindfulness and set goals for themselves to improve their mental wellbeing during the crisis.

The service is available through the end of June.

“While the concept of work is changing for everyone, there is perhaps no one more affected by COVID-19 than our extraordinary healthcare workers who are putting their physical and mental health at risk,” Dana Udall, Ginger’s chief clinical officer, said in a statement. “In a real-time crisis, it’s imperative that we provide real-time mental health support to our caregivers — and Ginger wants to help as much as we can to do that.”

Additional reporting by Bailey Bryant

Companies featured in this article:

, , , , , ,