COVID-19 Startups

Meditation Apps Address Stress of COVID-19

Illustration of man with mental issues looking at smartphone.

Social distancing, by nature, is isolating. And extended periods of isolation can take a toll on one’s mental health.

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With the news cycle churning out updates on the latest COVID-19 developments, the uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last and inevitable economic effects, some people are turning to meditation apps to clear their head. And in turn, some popular apps are making the services free or curating them for certain groups.

Los Angeles-based meditation app Headspace is offering free services and guides to help people and specific groups cope with stress by introducing Headspace for Healthcare Professionals, Headspace for Work and Headspace for Educators.

Headspace for Professionals, for example, gives all health care workers in a public health setting in the U.S. free access to Headspace Plus through the rest of the year, according to a blog post from the company. The workers will be able to access the subscription with their National Provider Identifier (a 10-digit identification number) and email address.

Headspace for Workers and Headspace for Educators offer free access to collections of meditations for teachers and other members of the workforce.

Headspace last raised $53 million in February for its Series C round, which was led by blisce/. The startup’s other backers include Pacific Western Bank and Spectrum Equity, according to Crunchbase data.

Other players

The meditation apps Calm and Simple Habit also are introducing free services. Calm, which is backed by investors including TPG Growth and Lightspeed Venture Partners, has put together a curated selection of free resources. Users can pick from sleep meditations, meditations for kids, practices to find ease and more.

Simple Habit is introducing new meditation collections specifically geared toward coronavirus–topics including self-care, mindfulness for kids at home, mindful communication with family and easing fear, according to the company.

“We recognize that many people are now being required to stay home, resulting in loss of income and financial uncertainty,” Simple Habit CEO Yunha Kim wrote in a blog post. “As a response to this macro change, starting today until the end of April 2020, we’ll offer free Simple Habit premium memberships to all people who are financially impacted by this difficult time and can no longer afford to pay. If you’re struggling or in need, we’ll take care of you.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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