The ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic extend beyond the familial, financial, and social effects on people’s lives. Along with these effects, the crisis is significantly impacting the mental health of people locally and globally.
Your Mental Health Needs Have Never Been More Important
Mental health is an “emerging potential crisis” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Dr. Karestan Koenen, a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Many people are dealing with severe mental health issues that can cause a wide range of emotional and physical problems.
Trouble eating and/or sleeping, headaches, and other health issues are increasingly cropping up as people cope with the stress of COVID-19. To try to forget about these issues, people may use alcohol and/or drugs, but doing so won’t resolve their mental health issues and may actually make them worse. Alternatively, people may try to ignore their mental health issues and the associated symptoms — despite the fact that doing so can be damaging to themselves and others.
An inability or unwillingness to identify, accept, and manage mental health issues can cause severe isolation, particularly since people are strongly encouraged to socially distance themselves from others to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Combined with health and financial concerns, the stress caused by trying to stay a minimum of 6 feet away from others while shopping for groceries, walking, or doing any other activities can be overwhelming. If people are coping with too much stress, they may choose to isolate themselves from others altogether. When this happens, loneliness, helplessness, and other symptoms of depression may become too much to handle, especially if people feel like no help is available.
I Need Mental Health Help: What Should I Do?
Mental health treatment is crucial. The coronavirus crisis is causing many people to experience increased stress and anxiety, and proper diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues is paramount. When people undergo a medical evaluation for their mental health issues, they can get the help they need to manage the associated symptoms now and in the future.
At the first sign of mental health issues, explore medical treatment. Doctors are still available during the pandemic, and many of them are offering telemedicine appointments. These appointments enable patients to discuss their mental health issues with a doctor via video chat, and all information shared over video chat is secure and confidential.
In addition to telemedicine appointments, immediate medical help is available to those struggling with mental health issues. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and it has counselors available over the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lifeline counselors understand the importance of mental wellbeing, and they can help people manage mental health challenges. For those who experience thoughts of self-harm and/or harming others, call 911 for urgent medical care.
I’m Struggling with My Mental Health and Need Someone to Talk to: What Should I Do?
Everyone has mental health needs. Having someone to talk to about them can help people manage their mental health. While the crisis is making it difficult to engage with family members, friends, and work colleagues in the same way we did in the past, options are still available to stay connected.
Setting up regular video chats with friends and loved ones during the pandemic can be beneficial. These chats allow people to see family members and friends and share their thoughts and feelings about COVID-19. They can also help people feel supported at a time when they may need additional support.
The pandemic has separated many people from their offices, normal social functions and day-to-day activities, too. Casual conversations at the water cooler, meeting for coffee, lunches or dinners may have seemed minor before the crisis. Now, some of these activities may not be possible and the loss of these activities may make people feel distant from their colleagues. This loss may also increase the risk of experiencing sadness, loneliness, and other depression symptoms.
There may be greater physical distance between people, but the crisis provides an opportunity to get creative to promote connectedness. For instance, people can attend virtual lunches, celebrations and parties where they come together via video chat to enjoy their favorite meals and events with one another. These activities promote social engagement may help people feel connected, even though they are physically far apart.
If people are finding it difficult to work due to the stress of the pandemic, meet with a manager. It can be helpful to schedule daily check-ins with managers via video chat until social distancing ends; these check-ins enable workers to discuss how they are doing and if they need any additional help during this challenging period.
In the event that people believe loved ones or coworkers are coping with mental health issues, it is important to address these problems directly. Mental health issues can linger, and the longer they persist, the worse they may become. However just by checking in, you can help loved ones, friends, neighbors and coworkers find safe, effective ways to manage mental health issues.
I Want to Help Others Address Their Mental Health Needs: What Should I Do
People who know where to go to get help with their mental health can get diagnosed for their mental health issues and evaluate treatment options. They may also be able to support others and help them find ways to manage their mental health issues as well.
The first step to help others address their mental health needs involves a discussion. At this time, share how you feel with your loved one, friend or coworker and why you are concerned about their mental health. You can also explain that the coronavirus crisis is putting a strain on everyone right now and that mental health treatment options are available.
If possible, offer to help your loved one find a mental health care provider, and set up a doctor’s appointment for them if they are too overwhelmed to do so independently. This allows you to show that you care about their health and want to do whatever you can to help them get through this challenging period.
You need to accept that someone who is dealing with mental health issues may refuse your assistance as well. In this instance, you can offer to stay available and ready to chat at any time. Even if your loved one does not reach out to talk, it’s important that they know you’re there to provide support if they need it.
It can also be helpful to provide resources to help someone you know manage their mental health issues. You can provide information about resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and explain that many doctors are offering telemedicine appointments during this time. Should your loved one’s mental health issues lead to recurring thoughts of death and/or suicide, it is critical to call 911.
To treat mental health issues caused by the pandemic, one or more therapy options may be considered. Antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy may be used to help people manage their mental health issues. There are also alternative therapy options, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy.
Is TMS an Effective Treatment for Mental Health Issues During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
TMS involves the use of magnetic pulses, which stimulate underactive regions of the brain to help reduce or eliminate depression symptoms. The therapy is noninvasive, and it does not require medication, electrical shocks, or anesthesia. TMS may also be used in combination with or in lieu of medication, psychotherapy, and other depression treatment options.
Achieve TMS/TMS Center of Alaska is the leading provider of TMS therapy in the United States. We understand that effective mental health treatment is needed now more than ever, and our providers are here to assist patients and their families dealing with the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
As part of our efforts, we are offering HIPAA-compliant telemedicine appointments for those seeking consultations, evaluations, and follow-ups. We are also providing daily treatment that follows all CDC guidelines. Since insurance companies may experience delays associated with the pandemic, we encourage you to begin the insurance approval process immediately. To learn more about TMS therapy, please contact us online, or call us today at 877-257-3193.