The coronavirus pandemic weighs heavily on people, and it has resulted in losses of lives, jobs, and independence on a global scale. At the same time, the crisis has created a mental health epidemic and led to widespread depression.
At Achieve TMS, our medical clinicians and technicians are helping patients cope with the emotional and physical symptoms of depression caused by the pandemic. Yet, the crisis weighs on our staff in the same way it weighs on everyone else. Although our clinicians and technicians commit significant time and energy to help our patients cope with the mental health effects of the pandemic and provide them with compassionate care, our best efforts often feel inadequate.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, our team has been working tirelessly to help our patients stay safe and healthy. As part of our efforts, we have been performing regular patient check-ins via phone calls and telemedicine appointments, so we can find out how our patients are managing their mental health. We’re also emphasizing patient accountability and are encouraging our patients to be accountable to themselves, to their families, and to us during this unprecedented time.
What Is Patient Accountability?
Patients are accountable for taking care of themselves, even in the middle of a crisis. They should not use the pandemic as an excuse to stop their depression treatment program; instead, patients must remain accountable to themselves, their families, and their mental healthcare provider.
Accountability for patients requires hard work and persistence, but patients do not have to be accountable on their own. In fact, shared accountability may help patients stay on course with their treatment plan.
Shared accountability requires patients to maintain their self-care. Additionally, shared accountability requires patients’ families to provide support. To do so, families can help patients take medication, attend therapy sessions, and continue to do other things as part of their treatment program. They can also be empathetic to patients’ mental health struggles and keep the lines of communication open.
Plus, shared accountability extends to a mental healthcare provider. For the clinicians and technicians at Achieve TMS, we must take care of our own mental health so that we can take care of our patients’ mental health as best as we can.
Why Mental Health Is a Shared Responsibility
There may be times when our medical clinicians and technicians inadvertently ignore their mental health as they try to put their patients’ wellbeing first. However, we must prioritize both our mental health and our patients’ to achieve the best results from a depression therapy program. To illustrate this point, we’d like to introduce Mr. Benoit Veige, a longstanding patient with us.
We met Benoit a few years ago, and we learned that he has a family history of major depressive disorder (MDD). Benoit had been through divorce, and he was in a very dark place in his life.
One day, Benoit watched a movie that depicted the suicide crisis at the Golden Gate Bridge. The movie highlighted an urgent need for increased mental health care services in the United States, but Benoit misinterpreted the message. After watching the movie, Benoit drove from San Diego to San Francisco, intending to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Had it not been for trained suicide intervention workers on hand at the Golden Gate Bridge that day, Benoit would not have lived to be the brilliant father, husband, friend, and community member he is today. We also would not have had the privilege to meet and help him manage his depression symptoms via our transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy program.
What Were the Results of Benoit’s TMS Therapy Program?
Benoit began TMS treatment shortly after his trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. He was referred for TMS treatment, and he admits that he initially believed that there was no hope our therapy would relieve his depression symptoms.
TMS treatment has helped Benoit turn his life around. Benoit has used the therapy to help manage his depression symptoms, and he is now enjoying life to the fullest while maintaining his mental health routine.
For Benoit, daily journaling, regular counseling, a carefully monitored medication regimen, and short TMS booster treatments are crucial every few years. We also continue to help hold Benoit accountable for maintaining his mood management routine and “keeping him on the straight and narrow,” he says.
Benoit has come to respect that need for shared accountability, too. He has given our phone number to his family members and friends. So, if they notice any worrying changes in him, they can call us to let us know that he may need a “swift kick in the pants,” as he describes it.
How Is Benoit Managing His Depression Symptoms Today?
Recently, we had a phone call with Benoit during the pandemic, and we were delighted to hear that he is continuing with his depression therapy routine and doing well.
At the beginning of our call, Benoit admitted the situation we are all in right now appears glum. He indicated that we’re all feeling cooped up at home and worrying about the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and the world in general. On the other hand, Benoit said his mental health outlook remains the same, despite the crisis.
Benoit’s outlook was profound, and he reminded us that depression needs to be managed just like a chronic physical ailment would. “If I had diabetes, I would take my medication every day,” he says. “It’s the same with mental health. I take care of it every single day, and I will always need to do that.”
Also, Benoit understands that depression is always a possibility for him. But through it all, Benoit understands that his depression symptoms can be managed, regardless of what is going on in the world.
What Can We Learn from Benoit’s Story?
The biggest takeaway from our call with Benoit: accountability with our patients, families, friends, and ourselves is crucial.
Mental health cannot be neglected. Plus, maintaining a mental wellness routine is more important now than ever. Much in the way that Benoit has not let the coronavirus pandemic stop him from caring for his mental health, none of us should let the crisis prevent us from taking care of our mental health.
We are responsible for our mental wellbeing, and each of us needs to find ways to cope with depression caused by the pandemic. This means pursuing medical treatment, as well as making it a priority to care for ourselves now and in the future.
Self-care comes in many forms — from practicing yoga at home to preparing healthy meals to reading a book to engaging in a video chat with family members or friends. With any self-care activity, be accountable for it, enjoy it, and make the most of it, each and every time.
Finally, we invite you to be accountable for your mental health, and we encourage your community to join you. If you or someone you know has been struggling with depression due to the pandemic, we can help you take steps to manage your symptoms.
Explore TMS Therapy from Achieve TMS
Achieve TMS is the leading provider of TMS treatment in the United States, and our medical clinicians and technicians are accountable to patients throughout a therapy program.
Right now, we are offering HIPAA-compliant telemedicine appointments for those seeking consultations, evaluations, and follow-ups. We are also offering daily treatment that follows CDC guidelines.
Insurance companies may experience delays due to the pandemic, so we encourage you to begin the insurance approval process as soon as possible.
For more information about TMS treatment, please contact us online, or call us today at 877-909-8595.