You have isolated yourselves, you have put up a distance from everyone outside your house, the schools are closed, the kindergartens are closed, people are walking around with masks and gloves, the supermarkets are lacking some essential groceries. It wouldn’t be normal if you are acting normal it would be awkward if you would not feel stress and anxiety and fear above all because everybody and everyone on the media is only talking about the newly infected and the death toll every day. The World Health Organization has already warned that all of the necessary precautions will harm people’s mental health and well-being.
Given that the situation with the coronavirus will last for a longer than firstly predicted, the authorities should address the public mental health, and besides the infected, they should also take care of the rising number of people suffering from mental health issues. One of the biggest problems for people’s mental health can be the shortage of testing and lack of diagnoses. You might have some symptoms, which could and could not be coronavirus, but a simple cough or higher temperature could give you discomfort, anxiety, panic and can cause mild depression, which can lead to more serious problems.
Amongst all inflicted, there are certain groups of people who would respond more strongly to the crisis:
– Older people, because they are at risk, especially those already suffering some chronic disease
– Children and teenagers, because of the self-isolation they are more prone to developing mental health problems
– First responders, they deal with the crisis face to face, every day, day and night, with little or no sleep at all (god bless them all)
– People already suffering mental health issues, this to them might be the end of the world for the rest of you not suffering any mental issue
The need for mental health therapy emerged like never before, and alarms are turning on all over the world, and so is the need for professional help. However, it is not easy to reach to your therapist, because like most of you, they are probably not taking patients at their office. The modern age also brought some nice and convenient things, like mental health apps ranging from meditation and wellness helpers like Headspace and Sanvello to teletherapy platforms like Talkspace. Only for one month, the number of registered users has doubled, especially because some platforms made their content free for the time being.
It can be quite easy when it is free. But in some cases, an app just won’t do the thing. Sometimes you will need professional care and advice and professional therapy from a trained personal. Thanks to changes in regulations, now you can access online therapist, and get mental health treatment you need. When it comes to therapy, the cost is always a huge worry, it is no secret these things can cost a lot. However, one of the reasons why people are turning towards online therapy is the cost itself, because not seeing the therapist face-to-face lowers the costs for a lot. You have to choose the right kind of therapy of course, because when online, the options are wide least to say, ranging from CBT, DBT, psychoanalysis, anger management, couples therapy, etc. Besides the price, several other convenient factors can help you decide if you should go for it, like the possibility of group therapy, which with the coronavirus crisis seems like the right choice, and these therapies are probably the best because you can participate anonymously, so you don’t have to worry of being exposed, which might add more stress to already stressed body and mind.
Perhaps this whole crisis will be a life-changer for most of the people, and people asking help will turn to digital media and digital mental health apps, text-a-therapist platforms, online professional therapy, and in close future the costs won’t be a deciding factor. The availability, the timeframe needed for therapy will be much shorter, and you don’t have to go anywhere, you can do it from the commodity of your home, from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever. Time will tell if it is better this way, or worse, it is too soon to be judging it now.
Some experts are already warning that the professional mental clinics should stay open for as long as possible, because there are mental disorders that are severe and can be life-threatening, and they are using e-therapy and e-counseling to maintain relationship and contact with the patients in need.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, a startup called Real is offering free mental health group sessions, mental health check-ins, and online events, however, this applies only to the residents of New York, because practitioners are only allowed to practice in the state where they are licensed, and it lasts for one month. Nevertheless, this should serve as an example for many other clinics, and offer free help for people in need of such!
And while you wait for the crisis to end, you should turn to other things to keep your mind in the right place:
– accept your feeling, don’t ignore them, but don’t let them control you. Fear is normal and will make you wash your hands more often and keep distance, but don’t let it overwhelm you.
– Meditate, breathe deeply and stay calm.
– Inform yourself of the new developments, but don’t go too far. A lot of fake news is online, listen to known experts, even if sometimes they deny themselves, don’t go listing social media and listen to what every idiot has to say.
– See the real picture – this is a virus that won’t hit and kill all of mankind (not even close), history has shown that much worse things have happened, however, not as media covered as the coronavirus for sure.
– Connect – call your friends and your family often, and if possible avoid talking about the coronavirus. Talk about the vacation you were last year, and about the vacation, you will probably miss this year, and laugh about it.
Death is not the worst phenomena, not living from fearing death is!