Posted By Monique Dever On June 10, 2021

The Threat to Mental Health during COVID-19 & How Practitioners Can Help

The COVID-19 pandemic has been full of challenges both mentally and physically for most Americans and the threat to mental health during COVID-19 has increased dramatically. Many have lost jobs, got laid off, lived in isolation, and existed in fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus for months on end. On top of that, the current number of virus cases is sobering and can be overwhelming to contemplate. It is no wonder that many modern world health experts are declaring many nations including the USA to be in a mental health crisis. The toll of COVID-19 has had physical, emotional, and financial effects on American families. Experts have found that if not addressed properly, mental health can sustain more damage and lasting effects than the three latter combined. So, what is the common threat causing this compromise in mental health?

According to an article by the World Health Organization, the stress caused by uncertainty during COVID-19 has been, and is currently, the most common threat to the American mental health. No matter how direct or indirect the exposure, the stress of the virus has been found to take a practically even toll on Americans’ mental health across the board. Living in anxiety at the possibility of contracting the illness keeps the body producing the “fight or flight” hormone (otherwise known as cortisol) consistently. This stress can be triggered by multiple factors including self-isolation, economic uncertainty, lack of safety, and absence of social interaction to name a few. Dr. Petsantis of the World Health Organization claims his patients have also seen a higher propensity for psychosomatic behavior due to the pandemic. 

Mental health is a crucial component to overall wellness for the body, mind, and soul. While financial and physical wellness may be on the forefront of your priorities, remember to check up on how you and your loved ones are handling stress during this time period. 

Health practitioners are currently working to find solutions to the mental health stresses in the USA. However, practitioners have found the solutions to many stresses lie in the power of the individual. Health care workers are learning to equip people with the proper tools and advice to address their personal mental health dilemmas head on. After realizing the significance of mental health fallout in 2020, the CDC released a series of recommendations for keeping mental health in order.

Here are 3 things health practitioners recommend to do in order to ease stress during the pandemic.

  1. Take frequent breaks
  2. Take care of your body
  3. Take time to connect with others

Take frequent breaks. Although it feels necessary to keep up with the latest news and updates about the virus, it can be exhausting to constantly seek information about a situation that is beyond your control. Try to take breaks from the news and engage in an activity that you enjoy or one that gives you inner peace.

Take care of your body. In order to set your mind at ease, make sure you are doing everything in your power to care for your body and build defenses against stress and sickness. The CDC recommends regulating your breathing during restful breaks, eating well, exercising often, and getting deep sleep. These lifestyle habits will relieve your anxieties and help you and your household feel a bit more in control during your daily routine.

Take time to connect with others. It can be easy to feel completely alone and isolated during a worldwide pandemic. It is difficult to be away from those you love in the effort to maintain social distance. However, make sure to talk with your family and community frequently. If you aren’t comfortable meeting socially distanced in person, set aside times to meet virtually using platforms like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. 

What are some ways you are dealing with stress during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.

Public Health Workers, We’re Here for You.We know county local health department staff are on the front lines of finding answers about COVID-19. As an Electronic Health Record provider focused on public and behavioral health, we understand the importance of your work. Thank you, healthcare heroes! If there is any way that we can be a resource to you during this time, please reach out to us today.

About Monique Dever

Monique integrates research and networking with her passion for health and well-being to provide important, up-to-date news, resources and current events to the public health communities. She is the Marketing Executive for Patagonia Health, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company focused on the public health sector.