Mental Health Month in the Shadow of COVID-19
In this COVID-19 crisis we see stark images casting a shadow over our ability to navigate the world. We are now face to face with meaninglessness and nothingness in a way that is unparalleled in our modern times. We have arrived at a point where the old “normal” can no longer continue, and we need to create new meaning, which means change. That which we have been given is no longer enough; we need something different, something new.
This existential crisis has most of us feeling everything from helpless to fearful to angry to sad and all stops in between. Again, it is okay to feel this way. It may not feel good but trying to push your feelings away or act as if they don’t exist is the unhealthiest thing you can do right now or ever.
Our mental health will suffer over the next several months and possibly for years to come. You might find yourself completely avoiding any reminders of what is happening. Normal daily activities have altered drastically, and we will hardly go back to what looks normal anytime soon.
You would think that the ongoing mental health fallout from COVID-19 would be a much larger point in the current conversation. Yet, it hardly seems that way. So, why does mental health and wellness always seem to end up at the bottom of our ongoing health care debate? Costs are a big barrier to treatment, but so are attitudes. A 2007 study in Psychiatric Services, a Journal of the American Psychiatric Association, looked at several hundred potential mental health clients who had thought about seeking services but decided against it. This can be understood from a financial standpoint considering the enormity of the economic fallout of this crisis.
When questioned 66-percent of those surveyed thought the problem would get better on its own. Seventy-one percent agreed with the statement “I wanted to solve the problem on my own.” Several other studies have shown that many Americans still view depression and anxiety as a sign of weakness, and that seeking treatment demonstrates a lack of character or strength. Mental health does not get the attention it deserves because of the stigma, but nearly one out of every five Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder within their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Month has been celebrated in May and for 55 years this campaign has provided an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues. Americans recognize Mental Health Month with events and activities in communities across the country. Many organizations, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), engage in ongoing efforts to promote Mental Health Month through increasing public awareness and advocacy.
At eTalkTherapy, we recognize and embrace the goals of Mental Health Month. Our objective is to build public recognition and support about the importance of good mental health and daily wellness, and to provide tips to promote mental wellbeing. We understand and acknowledge that there is more to good mental health than offering platitudes or medical management. Accepting the whole person, not just a diagnosis, is paramount to providing quality care and it is our mission.
Take the first step. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed professionals.
In Good Health,