October 10th is World Mental Health DayPat Fontana
Mental health is a concern throughout the year, of course, but each year we take a day to highlight the need to recognize and treat mental health issues. October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a time to reflect on what good mental health really is and how mental illness can affect people’s lives. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, about one in five US adults reported having a mental illness in the past year, and over 11 million people had a serious mental illness.
Mental Health During COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported alarming statistics about the toll the pandemic is taking on everyone’s mental health in the US. They found that about 41% of adults surveyed in late June “reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition.” The number of Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder had tripled by late June compared to the same time last year, and the number of those with depression had jumped fourfold.
The findings, based on surveys conducted from June 24-30, also show that “one quarter of [survey] respondents reported symptoms of trauma- and stressor-related disorder.” About 1 in every 10 survey respondents also said they’d started or increased their use of alcohol or illicit drugs during the pandemic.
In a separate study, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), researchers confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has also created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. In addition, many adults are also reporting difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health for All. Greater Investment – Greater Access.” This theme reflects KFF’s finding that people with mental health issues have been facing new barriers in these challenging times of the coronavirus outbreak. Access to care is critical for those who are experiencing mental health issues.
R&A Therapeutic Partners is also concerned with ensuring that our patients can access appropriate treatment for their mental health issues during COVID-19. Already experienced and capable with telehealth technologies, we have now enhanced our remote platform to prepare for the “new normal.”
Tips for Good Mental Health
World Mental Health Day is also a good time to focus on taking care of yourself, including these steps you can take to work on your mental health.
- Talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Reaching out to talk to a mental health professional is also a critical step for you to take now.
- Keep active. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
- Eat well. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
- Keep in touch. There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible or safe during COVID-19. You also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat with them online instead. Keeping the lines of communication open is good for you!
- Ask for help. None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go as planned. If things are becoming too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.
- Take a break. A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some “me time.”
- Do something you’re good at. What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and that achievement can boost your self-esteem.
- Accept who you are. We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places an,d make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help
Another very important step you can take is to reach out for help when you are facing mental health issues. At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we support you and your mental health and coping needs, helping you find the path that works best for you. We offer telehealth and online therapy options during COVID-19. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.