The Book Industry Charitable (BINC) Foundation, which pivited to helping comic book stores during the pandemic, has now announced a new Mental Health Wellness program to provide short term support to any employee or owner of U.S. bookstores and comic shops. BINC launched a Mental Health Wellness Pilot Program in February this year in response to feedback on the need for mental health support via its biannual survey, with over 54% of survey participants stating that a program with the greatest value to the bookstore and comics communities would be mental health therapy assistance. The demand for anxiety, depression, and stress-related treatment is at a three-year high, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Survey, with 60 percent of psychologists at capacity and unable to accept new patients.
Pam French, BINC’s Executive Director, now states that the pilot is now an established programme. “Since the start of the pilot program close to 300 members of the book and comics communities have received access, at no charge or obligation, up to 2 months (8 sessions) with a certified and licensed therapist via the BetterHelp platform. There is no requirement of financial need to participate in this new program; interested booksellers, owners and comic retailers fill out a simple and easy form and a Binc program manager will provide a confidential and unique invitation link to set up an account with BetterHelp.” Participants personalize their program, matching with a therapist, and communicating their way through web-based interaction, phone calls, text communication, and live online sessions. Participation in the program is completely confidential; Binc has no optics into the identity of participants, their therapy, or their personal data.
BINC encourages owners and managers of bookstores and comic shops to share the program information with their staff and has a poster available for download on their website here. Getting free and confidential access to mental health wellness therapy can have a meaningful impact on a person, their family, their coworkers, and their community. Those interested in supporting Binc and their programs can make a donation here.
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‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort