Meditation help for struggling workers, families


A company called Headspace is taking an unusual approach to helping millions of Americans through a trying time.

Headspace, a firm that bills its service as a “mindfulness app,” has announced that its premium tier of meditation application services will be available for free to various groups like teachers and healthcare workers during the coronavirus era, where the company will waive its regular $12.99 a month fee.

Working from the premise of helping users to react to the coronavirus pandemic and its unique stresses, the company will offer modules on ‘living with unemployment,’ ‘sadness and loss’ and ‘finding purpose.’

“While meditation and mindfulness can’t change our circumstances in life, it can help us change our perspective on those circumstances. And, now more than ever, that’s an incredibly powerful skill to learn,” said Rich Pierson, CEO and co-founder of  Headspace, writing about the decision to comp these services right now.

In a time when there’s so much chaos and so little support for workers undergoing difficult transitions, these types of free assistance can be very valuable.

For instance, the stress of dealing with a backlogged unemployment system creates its own inherent doubt and uncertainty, and so does the process of trying to navigate COBRA benefits for those who are laid off during a health crisis.

“More than 156 million Americans depended on their employers for health insurance before the pandemic,” writes Phil McCausland at NBC in a piece describing the scramble by workers who must deal with a sudden loss of health insurance just when they need it most. “But now, with almost 10 million people filing new unemployment claims over the past two weeks, an estimated 3.5 million workers likely lost their employer-provided health insurance, according to a study from the Economic Policy Institute.”

We’re hoping that Headspace fills in some of the gaps and offers struggling families a way to feel better and more confident as they emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. As for the rest of it, although there’s a sense the federal government is trying to get money to families, market uncertainties abound.