Some healthcare workers have reported feelings of PTSD after caring for Covid-19 patients. Some healthcare workers have reported feelings of PTSD after caring for Covid-19 patients. Some healthcare workers have reported feelings of PTSD after caring for Covid-19 patients. (Photo: David Ramos / Getty Images)

Michael Phelps teams up to donate over 1,000 months of free therapy to medical workers

Online platform Talkspace provides therapists at the touch of a button amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Nurses, doctors and other medical professionals are at the front line of helping combat the coronavirus, tending to those in need. But who is taking care of them in these unprecedented times?

Talkspace, an online platform that enables virtual video sessions with licensed therapists, has announced that they are donating 1,000 months of free online therapy to medical workers across the United States. The startup, founded by a pair of Israeli entrepreneurs and based in New York, already counts more than a million people as users. The site makes hundreds of professional therapists and counselors available at the touch of a button.

“The mental health of our social workers, nurses, doctors and other health personnel is now paramount,” said Talkspace CEO and co-founder Oren Frank. “They are on the frontlines of a rapidly growing pandemic, putting their own health and safety at risk to save others affected by the outbreak. At Talkspace, we feel it’s our responsibility to ensure they can access the care they need, in order to provide the care America needs from them right now.”

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who became a spokesperson for Talkspace after going public with his own mental health journey, has announced that he will donate an additional 500 months of free therapy. “I’m proud to be a part of something that is helping the superheroes of today, our medical workforce, take care of themselves as they are giving everything to take care of others right now,” Phelps said. “While so many things feel uncertain and out of our control, it is important that we take care of our mental health. Therapy is an ongoing process for me and Talkspace is an important part of my mental health routine, and my hope is the platform can do the same for the thousands of medical professionals facing unimaginable realities right now.”

The announcement comes on the heels of other Israeli groups making similar pronouncements. Innovation: Africa, a non-profit based in Tel Aviv, has said they are doubling their efforts to bring clean water to impoverished villages in Africa to help stem the tide of the virus. As well, they are installing solar panels in 100 villages to help provide power to local medical facilities. The humanitarian group IsraAid is also implementing psychosocial-themed webinars to help first responders better cope with the global pandemic.

Roni Frank, who co-founded Talkspace with her husband Oren, understands that the world is at a unique inflection point. "I'm worried myself – as a mom, as an entrepreneur, as a daughter of parents who are more at risk. I'm worried about my family and friends and the Talkspace team, but if there is one thing I know it's that we have to lean into support systems and communities and reach out for help during times of crisis."

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Michael Phelps teams up to donate over 1,000 months of free therapy to medical workers
The Olympic swimmer has joined forces with online platform Talkspace to provide therapists at the touch of a button amidst the coronavirus outbreak.