The Covid-19 pandemic is pushing America into a mental health crisis.

From Stress to Anxiety to Suicide

With daily doses of death, isolation feelings from confinement, fear and uncertainty have generated widespread psychological trauma leading to mental health issues in the USA and worldwide.

Anxiety. Depression. Isolation. Domestic violence. Substance abuse. Eating disorders. Financial stress. Grief. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 are intense and will last longer than the virus itself.

mental health

If you or know someone who has mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, suicide ideation etc, there is help.

As a matter of fact, Gionfriddo’s nonprofit offers questionnaires on its website — widely used in medicine — to help people screen themselves for problems.

Since the pandemic began, those daily screenings have jumped 60 to 70 percent.

Mental Health Crisis among our Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are also susceptible to mental health issues. They might seem strong, but they also hurting inside.

Some health care workers feel betrayed by their employers, the health care system, and the government, all of which were woefully unprepared for a pandemic and then chose to ignore their warnings.

Others are concerned they will be called upon to do work they have not done in years due to staffing needs. Even still, others are grieving the traumas they will see and the decisions they will be forced to make.

A psychiatrist said: “Underneath it, many health care workers are barely keeping it together. They are anxious and they are afraid.

They aren’t sleeping and they find themselves crying more than usual. The overall feeling in my friends, family, and co-workers is one of an impending doom and an existing gloom that is both physically and psychologically palpable”.

Experts consider the need for preventive measures (stress reduction, mindfulness, and educational materials), in-the-moment measures (hotlines, crisis support), and treatment (telepsychiatry for therapy, and medication if needed).

They also acknowledge that mental health treatment is not just something that happens urgently or in crisis, but rather is something that needs to continue and be available long into the future. [1]

“To control the virus, it’s all about testing, testing, testing. And for the mental health problems ahead, it’s going to be all about screening, screening, screening,” said Gionfriddo of MHA.

Where to Get Help

Take the screening test here. [2]

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). [3]

Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741. [4]

DR on Demand can help you choose from a variety of therapists with different backgrounds and specialties, available when you are. From talk therapy to medication management, we’re here to support your full mental wellbeing. [5]

Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide

(The New York Times – April 29, 2020)

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” said the father of Dr. Lorna M. Breen, who worked at a Manhattan hospital hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

She had described to her father an onslaught of patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances. [6]

How to Tell when It is More than Bad Mood or a Funk?

You are not the only one. We are all in this together.

It is normal to feel anxious, stressed and scared. These pandemic times are not ordinary days.

We’re in lock down, sheltered in place with or without family. Nearly 100 000 Americans have perished within a few weeks.

Even scientists do not completely understand Covid19. As a results the information we receive about it seems to constantly change.Therefore, his will also contribute to anyone fearful and anxious feelings.

In addition, places where we can usually let-of-steam , take a break from whatever or just socialize are closed (gym, pool, bars, restaurants churches, etc.). We can’t make routine health care appointments either since most of them are only open for emergencies.

Everyone is home: husband, wife and kids. You might be trying to work from home. On the top of that, you need to clean the house, do laundry, prepare breakfasts, lunches, dinners. If you have kids you have to house-school them and entertain them. This is all exhausting and overwhelming.

And then, there is social distancing…

We are a Social Species

We cannot shake hands, hug, kiss. We have to stay 6 feet apart. We feel sad, isolated and cut off from our World as we knew it.

There are many benefits of human contact and touch — decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure and stress hormones, boosts in bonding hormones like oxytocin — Dr Field of Touch Research Institute of Miami says.

Oxytocin is known as the hormone that promotes feelings of love, bonding and well-being. It’s even being tested as an anti-anxiety drug.

Keep in mind there are other ways to get the feel good benefits of touch. Dr Field says that as long as the skin is stimulating by exercise for example or even a good scrub in the shower, the skin’s pressure receptors are activated and trigger therapeutic responses, like relaxation, reduced depression, anxiety and heart rate. Just like getting a nice massage. [7]

In Conclusion

Remember that if you feel sad, scared, stressed, anxious and depressed you are not alone. This pandemic is a worldwide catastrophe. There is plenty to worry about in these uncertain times.

Relaxation methods can be helpful: exercise, yoga, self-massaging and even “forest bathing“. Try it, you might just like it!

But if you feel that you need professional help there are numerous excellent sources on-line and off-line.

[1] The Covid-19 crisis too few are talking about: health care workers’ mental state https://www.statnews.com

[2] Screening Test https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools

[3] National Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

[4] Crisis Text Line https://www.crisistextline.org/

[5] Dr on demand https://www.doctorondemand.com/what-we-treat/behavioral-health

[6] Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/nyregion/new-york-city-doctor-suicide-coronavirus.html

[7] Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T.,Goncalves, A., Burman, I. , Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205. http://pediatrics.med.miami.edu/touch-research/adult-massage