Why You Should Get Help Now

By: Rochelle Perper, Ph.D. | June 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives. From access to health care, our work, education, how we socialize, and how we take care of ourselves, we feel that the world has changed. It has, and it changed quickly. We know it’s temporary, but recovery feels like forever. Those experiencing losses by death, of income, stability, or health find it hard to imagine the world ever getting back to the way it was. We all suffer the loss of normalcy while enduring a kind of shared, collective grief that lingers. We wonder what lies ahead and how we will feel following the acute phase of the crisis.

Current mental health effects

Many of us feel overwhelmed with the added burdens perhaps of homeschooling, family conflict, unemployment, financial stress, working remotely, isolation, and fear for the future. A recent survey found that more than 50% of the individuals surveyed experienced at least one new mental health symptom since the pandemic began. These symptoms include insomnia, increased alcohol or eating problems, and increased worry or stress, particularly among healthcare workers.

These reactions are natural and unavoidable responses to the current crisis. Frustration, anxiety, fear, and helplessness are understandable considering the circumstances but they do not need to last forever.

Expected future mental health effects

Although prior pandemics provide only limited predictive knowledge, we can learn and know about the mental health consequences from them as well as from the survivors of combat and natural disasters.

A recent analysis completed by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists suggest that there exists a hierarchy of symptomatic responses to COVID-19 that roughly corresponds to the level of involvement in the acute phases:

    • First responders and direct healthcare personnel are most likely to express symptoms of a mental health concern such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) either immediately or after a period of time
    • Patients and those close to patients or the deceased are also at risk for the development of mental health concerns such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Those who suffer non-medical consequences, such as loss of livelihood or income, may be at risk for symptoms of complicated grief, and despair

Individuals not in the categories above may likely experience situational mental health symptoms that will resolve naturally in the months following the crisis. This exposes the power of human resilience and the ability to persevere under the most challenging circumstances.

Medical and rescue personnel stand the highest risk of developing mental illness during both the acute and recovery phases of crisis, particularly nurses enduring close and prolonged contact with ill patients.

Therapy Changes thanks the healthcare and frontline workers — many of them family, friends and dear clients — for their leadership, dedication, and sacrifice during this time. You have our unending support and deepest gratitude.

Why you should get help now

We face a new kind of adjustment as establishments begin to reopen and businesses try to resume usual operations with unusual safety protocols. Genuine concern still exists about the safety and sustainability of returning to work that can have a negative impact on our mental health. We still feel frustrated, awkward, stressed, and fatigued for having to wear face coverings and standing six or more feet apart. These challenges will not go away soon and may take time to accommodate them into routine practices.

We naturally think ahead about what may come and imagine a variety of scenarios. However, when this fear focuses solely on the bad things that could happen is when it becomes problematic. If you experience intrusive, unwanted worst-case-scenario thoughts or images, therapy can help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you develop strategies that respond to these unwanted thoughts, providing techniques to balance worst-case-scenario thinking.

Working with a professional San Diego Psychologist enables a safe way to express yourself and provides tools to cope with strong emotions and strategies to manage difficult situations. Therapy Changes is here for you now by offering telepsychology services to address the current crisis and learn strategies to manage stress and anxiety.

If you have experienced a loss or faced the front lines of this crisis, we know that your feelings aren’t something that you can just “get over.” Grief and trauma therapy will help you heal and rebuild a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. Therapy provides a path for you to process the traumatic events and develop mindfulness practices to stay connected to the present moment.

Make it better here and now

These challenging times do not allow a one-size-fits-all approach about how to adapt and cope with this epic crisis. We know that you might manage on your own — and many of us may — to gradually feel more like ourselves again as time goes on. But, you don’t have to go it gradually or go it alone. Therapy Changes was founded on the philosophy of focused guidance when you need it most. Signs of needing it most now include difficulty coping with current stress, experiencing trauma or loss during this pandemic or enduring anguishing aftermaths. We are here to help you now. Your strength is in knowing your resources and asking for help when you need it most. And, there’s no time like now to reach out and benefit from additional support and guidance during this unprecedented, challenging time. We look forward to meeting you soon.


Image: Sophia Louise on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

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