The last few months have been difficult for theAmerican people. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken the already existing mental health crisis in America and put it on steroids. What’s interesting is no one had time to prepare for the Pandemic’s effects, especially the current and unforeseen impact on mental health in our country. Before COVID-19, we saw high rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide, but with the virus’ effect on the economy, losses of all sorts, and stay at home orders, the rise in statistics are staggering. Fear and panic have caused widespread feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness as people continue to self-isolate and practice social distancing. Some have been devastated by it. Without question, health professionals are needed now more than ever to be attuned to mental health issues and needs. It’s also time to double down on our self-care, continue our education, update our referral and resource lists, and evaluate how to best help people most impacted.
Even more, as healthcare providers, leading others through unprecedented times also means that our lives have been upended too. Clinics and practices have made mass transitions to telehealth platforms to help ease the accessibility and continuity of care. While these platforms made it easy for some to access care from home, those in low income, rural or the elderly, may not have the resources needed to adapt to the shift to telehealth, exacerbating their already existing health and mental health challenges.

Rising Concerns

Before the Pandemic, anxiety disorders impacted around 18% of the United States population1, and about 6% had depression

More than one -third of Americans have displayed clinical signs of anxiety, depression, or both since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Nearly one-in-five Americans say they have had a physical reaction when thinking about the outbreak.

During COVID-19, one -third of adults ages 18 to 29 are in the high distress group, compared with just 15% of adults 65 and older.

A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Stepping into the moment, now is the time to attune ourselves to the rising tide of mental health concerns and shepherd others to recovery. Once the initial shock wears off, the so-called “new normal” will be jarring. Here are some special takeaways helpful in navigating the current crisis include:

Radiate Positivity

It’s easy to rattle off what’s been taken from us—concerts, vacations, weddings, graduation, a favorite restaurant, community swimming pools. Doing a reframe can help recast the moment into something positive. The pan-demic has offered a reset around issues such as time with family, getting outside, and more. Helping clients stay positive and reframing their mindset is essential. Remind them what worked in the past and talk through new ways to tap into healing. Therapists are creative problem solvers- and as Christians, we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we work with our clients to establish new healthy routines.

Self Care

This Pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. While we do not know when this will end, you are not going to white knuckle it through coronavirus caring for others tirelessly and deal with your own mental health later. The Dr. Lorna Breen incident in New York was a stark reminder of this. She was a heroic ER doctor in Manhattan who took her own life in the heat of the COVID-19 Pandemic. You cannot pour from empty cups. Be sure you have safe people who love you or a mental health professional who can help you process your own emotions.
Top Doctor Magazine
Top Doctor Magazine

Top Doctor Magazine is a magazine from doctors for doctors and patients. We cover everything from cutting-edge medical techniques and procedures to enterprising doctors, dentists, surgeons, naturopaths, chiropaths, orthodontists, and more who are thought leaders within their own medical practice and changing the way we all experience medicine for the better.

We wish to be your one-stop digest for inspiration by other professionals in your field who are making waves and setting trends. If you, too, are a trend-setter, reach out to us so we can interview you for your own spotlight within an upcoming Top Doctor Magazine issue!

Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors