Covid-19: Mental Health Aftermath?

Social distancing measures are being eased back. People are cautiously venturing out to jobs, loved ones’ houses, and stores. The world is settling into a “new normal” equipped with masks and hand sanitizer.

But it’s really not normal at all. A few years after all this we’ll get back to the real normal and put these days behind us. But for now, the uncertainty of re-openings causes a new batch of mental health concerns.

The isolation of social distancing stirred up mental illness. Countless people with a predisposition for disorders ran into a roadblock to recovery. Even some without a history of mental illness developed forms of psychological distress.

So why do experts believe this transition phase will be just as hard on our emotional well-being?

  • 1 out of 2 Americans are unemployed.
  • Covid-19 is still out there: a recent weekend saw 879 new cases in Florida alone.
  • Alcohol sales are through the roof.
  • Media reports a rise in domestic violence

These problems will still be there during the transition, they won’t just magically disappear. Mental health professionals worry new tensions will hamper the reopening phase. The old anxiety may just get replaced with a new anxiety.

What are we seeing now?

The big picture: it’s going to be complicated. We are seeing an overwhelmed behavioral health care system. Behavioral health treatments have been disrupted. Rehabilitation has gone out the window for many.

At the same time community support resources (church, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.) are less available.

Thankfully the internet has provided a solution to many of these problems. With the recent explosion of telehealth services, professional psychiatric treatment is available from the safety of home. Discreet, convenient, and effective, online psychiatry and therapy have already changed countless lives since before Covid-19.

Even with mental health professionals a few clicks away, we sometimes need advice to deal with fear or anxiety right now.

5 tips to deal with fear during the transition:

  1. Stop ruminating. To calm your mind, think about something else. Get to work on something important that needs to get done: write that email, clean the bathroom, call that family member.
  2. Change your mental set. No catastrophizing!  Attitude is everything, pick a good one. Focus on problem solving and a positive mind-state.
  3. Do fun projects and tasks to give yourself positive feedback. Paint, learn a new dance, try that new recipe!
  4. Organize your space – clean up. A neat, organized living space has been shown to facilitate focus and calm.
  5. Go out and look at nature, horizons, the sky, etc. Go outside and view the landscape. Getting outside of 4 walls can work wonders for your psychology.

Hopefully these are helpful if you’re struggling. But if you still need help please don’t hesitate to reach out. Try telepsychiatry or teletherapy to take control of your life. Support is here for you through these challenging times!

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