In May 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau has surveyed 1 million American households to ask how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted things like employment, education, and personal finances. Embedded within that survey were “four questions taken nearly word-for-word” from the forms a family doctor might use to screen her patients for anxiety and depression, according to the Seattle Times.

Responses indicate that 1/3rd of Americans feel depressed and/or anxious, a number that has skyrocketed to say the least. For perspective, consider:

  • Anxiety affected an estimated 18.1% of Americans in 2016
  • Depression affected an estimated 7.1% of Americans in 2017

Because the Census Bureau asked about both anxiety and depression, it’s hard to know how many people identify with each respective condition. But it’s fair to say the feelings of anxiety, depression, and fear have spiked in recent months.

Combining historical figures, we could say that up to 25% of Americans experienced depression and anxiety in 2016-17. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, that number has jumped at least 8%.

Other statistics paint a bleaker picture, however. According to the Washington Post, a federal hotline for people in emotional distress experienced a 1,000% increase in April (year over year). Talk Space, an app we’ll cover below, reports 65% increase in clients since mid-February, most of whom are fearful of coronavirus.

Online/mobile resources for depression and anxiety

Fortunately, there are many resources available to individuals who experience emotional distress. Below are some resources, organized in order of accessibility.

If you are someone you know is experiencing serious or life-threatening levels of distress, call one of the hotlines below. 

CONFIDENTIAL 24/7 Hotlines

Talking to another person is often the best step toward feeling better. We’re social creatures, so speaking with another human being creates a bond that can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and despair. Here are two examples of hotlines that you can click-to-call, right now:


With the exception of Talk Space, most mobile apps lack the person-to-person connection that hotlines offer. However, I find the following apps to be great for daily maintenance and inspiration.

  • Talk Space. This app will connect you with a real, licensed mental health pro.
  • I Am Sober (App Store or Google Play). This app will keep you motivated to kick anything from sugar to heroin, while connecting you with others who are doing the same.
  • Calm. This app focuses on meditation and sleep, both of which play a key role in emotional regulation. Currently, American Express cardholders can get a free annual plan.
  • Waking Up. This app is all about understanding your mind through meditation and contemplation. I’m including it because I love Sam Harris, and he openly encourages people to message the company if they can’t afford the subscription so they can “work something out”.

For more app suggestions, check out the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s list of the best mobile apps for anxiety, or this Healthline ranking of the best apps for depression.

Yoga Classes for Anxiety and Depression

Yoga can be a great tool for feeling better. But it’s just that—a tool. If you are experiencing severe feelings of anxiety and/or depression, skip the yoga classes and call one of the hotlines listed above.

If you would like to breathe, move, and stretch as a means of enhancing your mental health, I have about a dozen classes that can help:

  • Yoga for anxiety. This series of classes focuses on using your breath to calm your nervous system, along with easy poses to make you feel grounded.
  • Yin yoga sequences. For an even slower practice, check out this Yin Yoga series. We’ll explore fewer postures, mostly from a seated or relaxed position.

Always consult a mental health professional prior to making any changes to your health regimen. If you do not currently have a mental health professional and are experiencing great distress, please call one of the following hotlines:


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