Our world has completely changed over the course of the last year. Millions of people have suffered from the pandemic, physically and mentally. This untimely event has caused stress and isolation for many people and their families. Those struggling with mental illnesses and mental health before the pandemic have been put in an even worse spot. Isolation has been extremely problematic for millions of Americans dealing with mental health.
As we tune into the local news it can be hard to know what to believe. Mental Health Policy can seem overwhelming at times. With this in mind, it’s important to listen to our medical experts and follow their insight into mental health and the virus. Misinformation can create dangerous situations and can add fuel to the fire. This holiday season we encourage you and your family to stay safe and informed.
Mental health is often lost in the crossfire of COVID-19 and the effects it had. It’s important to be aware of the different resources available to you and what you can do to stay mentally/physically healthy. Let’s take a look at just some of the mental health policy and insights from experts and what you can do to stay healthy and safe.
How the Pandemic Can Affect Mental Health
A global and nationwide pandemic can have drastic effects on a person’s life and mind. It’s a circumstance that came without warning and has affected millions of people’s families. More than just the idea of a virus spreading is the social and economic effects of the pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs and are unable to support themselves and their families. This can cause severe stress and depression among other mental health problems. Not being able to put food on the table or go outside can create drastic effects.
The statistics show a lot about how people have been affected mentally by the pandemic. Perhaps one of the biggest sources of sadness and depression is isolation. Within an instance, everyone was forced to stay indoors away from their family and friends. This can result in several negative feelings; physically and mentally.
Losing your job can cause a multitude of problems for you and your family. Not only do you financially suffer but your mind can take a toll as well. Research shows a strong connection with unemployment and increased depression, anxiety, and a higher chance of substance abuse/addiction. Sadly, the pandemic has closed down many businesses and left people stranded. However, misinformation is also another key element of panic and unease within many people. By striving for the truth and facts, we can slowly begin to rebuild our nation one step at a time, together.
Mental Health and the Pandemic – Statistics
According to a recent survey, around 47% of people have reported feeling negative health effects (due to sheltering in place). This is contrary to the 37% of people that feel this way when not sheltering in place. Loneliness and isolation have affected people of all ages and all walks of life as well. However, adults over the age of 65 have had a significant effect due to isolation and quarantine since March.
Additionally, women with young children (under the age of 18) have also been deeply affected by the pandemic. Economic and financial ruin can be a concerning and horrific situation for parents and their children. It can be challenging, but we urge you to stay strong and hopeful. Make sure to listen to the experts and follow trusted sources of news.
‘Facts Minimize Fear’ – Mental Health Policy
It is very important to get news from official sources and take the right precautions to stay healthy and informed during this time. Experts have spoken out about the importance of information quoting “facts minimize fear”. The Technical Officer of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, Aiysha Malik, urges that facts do minimize fear. “There are two sources, One is the [World Health Organization]; the other is your national authority… A repeated message for managing fear in the COVID-19 response is to get facts. Facts minimize fear.”
Staying updated on accurate and current COVID-19 information is crucial to stay informed and safe. Getting news from the source (WHO) can help you protect your family and your friends without panicking or being fearful. Sometimes inaccurate headlines and the spreading of lies/rumors can cause stress and even more fear in people. Together we can get through this by staying informed and following the proper guidelines in our day-to-day lives.
Mental Health as a part of The Public Health Response
The World Health Organization’s Mental Health and Substance Use Department have stressed the importance of mental health during this time. Mental health is considered part of the public health response to COVID-19. It is more than just COVID-19, it’s about also focusing on those who are vulnerable. People with pre-existing conditions or those dealing with addiction or substance abuse. This can create stress and more severe situations (mentally and physically).
As a result of these effects, the World Health Organization and other associations are focusing on mental health policy and resources. Across seas, the National Mental Health Program in the Ministry of Public Health has created a set of resources for mental health during this time. Some of these ideas include:
- Mental health services via telephone for those in quarantine
- Including mental health and stigma during the training of frontline workers and non-health areas. These efforts include social media efforts and communication targeting the public and field workers alike
- An in-depth social media campaign for the public, people in isolation, and employees in workplaces
- Support of healthcare staff and those on the frontlines
As time progresses, we see more and more services available to the public in terms of mental health policy. Having these resources available and ready can ease the burden and help you cope with the stress of COVID-19. With this in mind, it’s important to know that while you may be in isolation, you are not alone in your struggles.
Staying Connected and Healthy During The Pandemic
Isolation has separated our families and employees from each other. Without a doubt, isolation has taken a toll on many people’s livelihoods and daily routine. To this day people are still trying to adjust to this new life we’re in. This is especially true for those struggling with unemployment or a completely new and unfamiliar work environment. While isolation may be stressful and hard there are things you can do to stay connected and mentally healthy. Keep in mind these pointers/tips to staying on top of your mental health during quarantine:
- Maintaining daily routines (as much as you can) and sticking with them
- Staying up to date with credible information (at specific times)
- Stay connected with your family, friends, and co-workers (via phone calls, virtual meetings, social media, text, etc.)
- Exercise and eat healthy regularly (find relaxation techniques and stay hydrated)
To follow up on staying connected with technology, there are many other platforms for mental health. As we continue pursuing the idea of social distancing, our world has adapted to a new stage of virtual communication. Using this convenience can bridge the gap between isolation and the outside world. There are many different types of telemedicine and telehealth options to get help while socially distancing yourself.
Sometimes, you have to take the first step and be honest with yourself. It’s important to get help if you are suffering mentally and physically, use the resources at your disposal. There are many telehealth options and hotlines that are ready at a moment’s notice. Even though you may be isolated this holiday season, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
Staying Positive During the Pandemic
There has been a string of unfortunate news and stressful events in the past months. It can be easy to overlook some of the positive events and hopeful endeavors constantly happening. Many people have been able to successfully recover from COVID-19 and have been able to get better. Sometimes we must look at the positives of our situation to help us push towards the future.
Let this be a motivator to keep practicing empathy with each other while we continue working together. There will be good and bad times as we continue moving forward but staying positive and kind to each other can go a long way. At Montare Behavioral Health we want to hold out a welcoming hand if you are struggling with mental health illnesses or addiction. We want to help you and your loved ones get to a better place and encourage safety during these times. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and mental health resources.