With grim images of coronavirus frontline workers splashing across screens, the founder of the virtual support group Lyf decided to come up with new ways of helping those struggling during the pandemic.
"I saw footage of trucks being used as temporary morgues in New York, and I just thought being exposed to that level of tragedy on an ongoing basis, I've got to help somehow," Lyf co-founder and CEO Eddie Wittenberg told Cheddar.
The Lyf app is now offering 24/7 access to licensed psychologists who can provide some support for free.
Even before the pandemic, Lyf was serving as a supportive virtual community where users can share their own experiences that might be too personal to post on social media, whether it be a challenge or an achievement. The app also offers a variety of privacy options for users that allow them to share each topic with the entire group or a select group of individuals.
"The free version of the app is a place to go where people can meet other people going through the same struggles that they are going through themselves. Whether that is anxiety or depression," he said. "All problems, which are too personal to put on your socials, you can go there, on the Lyf app, either anonymously or publicly, and get support from other people who have gone through the same thing as you."
The CEO notes that there is a limit to the amount of support they can provide virtually to users, so the app will refer users to medical professionals in their area who can provide extra support.
"The kind of help that we're giving is an immediate help. Picture somebody at 1 am or 2 am, unable to sleep, traumatized by what they've seen during the day," said Wittenberg. "You reach out and somebody is there immediately as opposed to waiting until the next morning, next week, or next month."
If users need longer sessions with medical professionals the service is available at $10 per hour.