The state Office of Mental Health has implemented a first-of-its-kind program to provide free six-week support and resilience group therapy sessions.
The “Coping Circles” program will be provided by OMH via video or phone and facilitated by licensed mental health professionals.
“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult. Coping Circles will help us ensure that New Yorkers who are struggling at this difficult time can receive the support and assistance they need,” said OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan in a news release. “I am deeply grateful to all the mental health professionals who have answered Gov. Cuomo’s call to help provide free services to New Yorkers seeking help.”
New York residents and mental health practitioners can register at NY.gov/CopingCircles. The program is available to all New Yorkers ages 18 and older and is offered in a range of languages and at various times during the day. Specialized circles will be available for health care workers, first responders and survivors of COVID-19.
The program will be offered between June 1 and Aug. 31.
Officials said Coping Circles will provide home-based support and resilience tele-group sessions to help people who are feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic and want to discuss and share their feelings.
During the early days of the pandemic, the governor asked medical and mental health professionals to volunteer to serve New Yorkers in need. More than 14,000 people responded. That has been whittled down to more than 750 professionals who have met the standards and have indicated an interest in taking responsibility for one or more circles on a voluntary basis.
Once six individuals have signed up for a particular Coping Circle, OMH will forward their information to a facilitator.