According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, less than half of adults in the United States who need mental health treatment get the help they require. “Over the past two years, Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Foundation interviewed yoga professionals and association members to better understand the pandemic’s impact on the yoga community. Mental health and trauma support were noted as one the most pressing needs among yoga professionals around the world,” says Shannon Roche, president and CEO of Yoga Alliance.
Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit representing the international yoga community, recently announced two new mental health and life services in partnership with employee assistance program Lytle AllOne Health Company. The services are designed to provide mental health support and personal assistance to Yoga Alliance members and non-members alike.
The Member Assistance Program is newly included with Yoga Alliance membership. It provides help and guidance to members and their households. The program includes:
- Mental Health Support — 24/7 phone access to a counselor.
- Work + Life Services — Access to experts and resources regarding topics such as elder/adult care, adoption, parenting, childcare and special needs.
- Legal + Financial Services — Access to guidance for financial planning, estate planning, bankruptcy, personal injury and major life event planning.
For non-members, Yoga Alliance Foundation launched Eka Well-being Services. This program provides free mental health support to eligible yoga professionals and their families, regardless of membership, especially those experiencing marginalization or who don’t have access to support. It can help yogis attain crisis and trauma support, understand grief and bereavement, identify and cope with culture shock and much more.
“Scientific research has long shown yoga’s multi-faceted ability to improve depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, illustrating that yoga should be part of the options available to address the complexity of mental health access around the world. Many individuals understand the positive impact yoga can have on one’s mental health, but they are often reluctant to seek out traditional mental health treatment. At the same time, individuals more familiar with traditional treatment may not consider yoga. With the launch of this program, we’re saying, sometimes both are needed, and that’s okay,” shares Dani Hayes, Vice President of Community Engagement at Yoga Alliance.
Yoga Alliance is paving the intersection of mental health care and yoga. “These programs seek to bridge the gap between traditional mental health treatments and yoga by illustrating the powerful effects of a whole-person approach to health and wellness,” says Roche. “Access to mental health care is a complex, multi-layered public health challenge that requires cross-sector solutions and the Member Assistance Program and Eka Well-Being Services programs offer an entry point for those who might not otherwise have access to mental health services.”
One of the goals of both programs is to be available to anyone, at any time, regardless of barriers such as financial status or geographical location. “The Member Assistance Program and Eka Well-Being Services provide services to both domestic and international members, in almost every language throughout the world and with their large network of affiliates, they can offer comprehensive services and relevant resources based on cultural context and location,” explains Roche.
Roche believes that as professionals that support the vitality others, it’s critical for yoga teachers to have access to resources that will help them continue to be able to bring their gifts to communities around the globe.
As part of individuals’ Yoga Alliance membership, yoga professionals and their families can access the Member Assistance Program at yogaalliance.org. Yogis, regardless of membership, can learn more about Eka Well-Being Services and the application process at yogaalliance.org/foundation.
Featured image by Conscious Design.