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Mental health professionals volunteer services during coronavirus pandemic

Posted: 3:32 PM, Mar 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-26 15:32:49-04
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NEW YORK CITY — New York state is doing all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

There has been an overwhelming response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for health care professionals and for schools of public health or medicine to come forward to support those in need.

Now, mental health practitioners are stepping up to the plate to offer their services for free.

In fact, dealing with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic is now just a phone call away.

Over 8,600 mental health professionals have now joined the over 52,000 health care volunteers to provide free online services.

“Mental health professionals from other states say they’ll provide mental health services electronically through Skype or over the telephone. It gives me such strength and such inspiration,” Cuomo said.

Dr. Judith Joseph, a child and adult psychiatrist, is among the many answering the call help out.

"I’m seeing a spike in OCD," she said. "You have people who are already worried about contamination and all their fears are validated by this super contagious virus. There's a spike in their compulsive behaviors of hand washing, which you’re supposed to do right? Right. People are washing excessively to the point where they’re getting scars and their hands are bleeding."

She said she advises patients to get creative and find a virtual buddy. When you feel a sudden surge of stress and anxiety, help is right at your fingertips.