April 27th, 2021
Written By: Daniel Shuter, MSW, LSW
The world is experiencing unprecedented times, where personal preferences, our outlets to decompress or express ourselves, and the seemingly normal activities that brought us joy—all have been stripped from us during a wave of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all, some harder than others. With uncertainty, comes fear, and with fear, comes feelings of isolation, sadness, frustration, and mental exhaustion.
Mental health practitioner offices have been filling with an onslaught of new clients, and these practices have been expanding to attempt to meet new client demands. Which begs the question-- as evidenced by clinical demand expeditiously climbing-- how has the global pandemic impacted our mental health?
According to studies as recent as July of 2020 and reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “[US polls find]… the pandemic is increasingly taking an emotional toll, with a majority of U.S. adults (53%) saying that worry and stress related to coronavirus have had a negative impact on their mental health, up from 39% in May.”
Additionally, when taking a deeper look at Gallup’s Annual Health and Healthcare Survey, which began recording data in 2001, an analysis found, “… American’s mental and emotional well-being was lower than ever in 2020.” The conclusion that the year 2020 (as well as 2021) has brought on a new wave of mental health concerns has become very apparent within our nation. Not only have national surveys and polls indicated mental health concerns are on the rise, but more specifically, maladaptive coping mechanisms as well.
“… One in four adults reported drinking more this past year to manage their stress. That rate more than doubled among those who had children between the ages of 5 and 7.” Additionally, the New York Times expanded upon the findings that alcohol consumption significantly increased in 2020-- the heart of the pandemic. “Americans increased the frequency of their alcohol consumption by 14 percent compared to a year earlier.”
Beyond alcohol consumption, other forms of unhealthy coping mechanisms also have been on the rise, including over-eating, and under-sleeping, or sleep deprivation. “The psychological damage from the past year has caused sharp declines in physical health, including widespread weight gain and disruptions in sleep.”
This leaves those who are suffering from feelings of depression, anxiety, and alike, wondering what can be done to find some serenity. It also highlights the need for us as a whole to tap into more healthy coping strategies. Individuals today are required to get creative to step out of their blurred lines of work and home life.
Here are a few tips that may help bring some peace of mind:
We are all responding to the global pandemic and novel coronavirus the best we can, let’s keep this in mind moving forward. Although mental health concerns are on the rise, let’s also remember there are healthy ways to combat feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and disharmony—it all starts with the willingness to try something different, and tapping into the resources we have at our disposal.
For more information on mental health resources available to you, or for immediate help, please visit here or call your local emergency services.
For vaccine and other Covid-19 resources and information, please visit here.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in psychotherapy services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.
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