In the past, times of economic upheaval have been followed by increased rates of mental health problems, suicide, overdose and overall quality of life challenges. As we come out of the past year of COVID-related stress, we are seeing the impact of economic disruption layered with personal, professional and health-related stress yet again. The impacts of COVID on mental health is unprecedented in modern times due to these complicated layers, and we as healthcare professionals must be aware of how COVID has had an impact on the lives of our patients.
Coming out of the past year, studies and purchase trends are showing that many people are turning to unhealthy avenues such as drinking, smoking, substance use, gambling, pornography, unhealthy eating, online shopping or other maladaptive habits to cope with stress from the past year. Being aware and actively looking for signs of addiction is crucial among the healthcare community at this time. As we all know, mental health challenges, if left untreated, can become life altering or threatening.
Studies show that younger people and women, including mothers, experienced the brunt of mental health impacts of COVID. Women, including mothers, were among the most likely to experience heightened stress and worry related to COVID. This comes at no surprise as it is also reported that women experienced more significant rates of job loss during this time as well as were more often the caregiver tasked with organizing child care during school closures.
Not only is there concern for newly diagnosed mental health conditions, but also for those who have been previously diagnosed. System and routine are an important part to supporting mental health – and the past year was anything but. Treatment, medication regimen and support system routines have been interrupted, if not completely uprooted.
Treatment options have been more limited since the pandemic. There are longer wait lists, times between appointments and across the country, many practices have closed entirely. This, combined with the growing need, is a dangerous conversation.
There is a silver lining! Many outpatient resources have turned to virtual or hybrid formats in order to meet the need. Inpatient rehabilitation centers, like Wellbridge, have taken extra precautions to keep patients safe. If you’re a healthcare provider, contact us to learn more about taking an in-person or virtual tour of our facility.