Mental Health In A Time Of Change
May 03, 2020 12:31PM
By Cathy Ludwig
There is no question that the outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted mental health by elevating worldwide anxiety. The results of living in isolation and quarantine are seen in reports from Wuhan, China, now that restrictions have been lifted. While many have reported that their overwhelming feelings of fear and helplessness have faded and that their relationships have grown stronger, reports of domestic violence have multiplied and the divorce rate has skyrocketed upon emerging from lockdown.
In a recent poll, 45% of adults in the U.S. reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to stress over the pandemic and the economic decline. The key is to address the stress now rather than after damage has been done to our emotional health or our relationships. Hoping that anger, guilt, depression or extreme worry will go away on their own is unrealistic and may only lead to worsening symptoms.
All of us have had to adapt and change our everyday patterns of behavior in order to cope with the new routines of social distancing and living in quarantine. Recommendations for maintaining overall health during the pandemic include having a routine, eating well, getting exercise, limiting exposure to the news, and focusing on the positive and what one can control. If, after doing all of that, there are still feelings of irritability and tension and reactions to circumstances are extreme, it is time to get help. There is no need to go through this alone. We truly are in this together and there are professionals ready to help.
Many mental health services are currently available online through telehealth platforms. Mental health professionals will see clients in their virtual offices via HIPAA compliant platforms or will offer sessions via phone. Also, some insurance companies are waiving out of pocket costs such as copays or coinsurance for in-network mental health services provided during quarantine. Check with your health insurance company for details.
When this difficult global and personal challenge passes (and it will), we want to be able to emerge from this experience as healthy as possible with our lives and relationships intact.
Cathy Ludwig, Ed.S., LPC, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Succasunna, NJ. She offers psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and Past Life Regression. For information, call 201-738-8311.