According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis survey, “At least four-in-ten U.S. adults (41%) have experienced high levels of psychological distress at least once since the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.” To reiterate, four-in-ten people are experiencing issues with their mental health since COVID-19 began! That is a staggering statistic. Further, this statistic makes it all the more urgent to get people informed on the correlation between mental health and crises, as well as the importance of seeking treatment when mental health issues arise.
Experiences of crisis can bring up serious issues of mental health. Crises can create anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorder (SUD), to name a few. For those experiencing these crisis-related symptoms, it is important to know that help is available – highly effective help. The key is to reach out for it.
Not Minimizing Mental Health During a Crisis Like COVID-19
There is a tendency for people to minimize the effects of crises. This is especially true when it is a universally experienced crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason for this is there is a tendency to “compare and contrast” people’s experiences. However, the problem with that is that people’s reactions are always different, even if they have gone through the same experience.
The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality is not a healthy one when it comes to dealing with crisis-related issues of mental health. Just because one person may seem to navigate a crisis well without psychological effects does not mean that others will do the same. It also does not mean that others must do the same. Again, crises affect everyone individually. Therefore, every person’s healing deserves to be addressed individually as well.
The Potential Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health
There are many effects that a crisis like COVID-19 can have on an individual’s mental health. These effects may show up immediately, or they may lie dormant until they present themselves later in life. According to a publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some of the effects of a crisis include:
- Having trouble processing future situations because the situation evokes trauma related to their crisis-experience
- Feeling excessively or inappropriately guilty because they were not affected as dramatically by the crisis as others
- Feeling depressed, anxious, or out of control due to feelings of situational unmanageability
- Abusing drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for dealing with crisis-related trauma
Of course, there are also the more immediate and serious mental health side effects of crisis-related mental health issues, and those are self-harm and suicide. This is why seeking treatment for crisis-related mental health issues sooner than later is paramount.
Mental Health Recovery Options for Dealing With a Crisis
According to an article by StatPearls, “People affected by a crisis can potentially harm themselves and others, which is a significant concern as to why crisis intervention is needed as it mitigates those risks.” However, while crucial, intervention is only the first step.
When someone is struggling with their mental health, it is important to seek out professional care as soon as possible. This is whether the mental health issues are trauma-related or not. The reason for this is that issues of mental health are complex. A mental health professional can help to assess what’s going on, and more importantly, can guide an individual in the right direction to healing. It is important to remember, that no one’s mental health issues are the same. Thus no one’s recovery plan should be the same either.
A successful recovery plan should be customized for the individual. For those struggling with issues of crisis-related mental health, this plan will most likely focus on getting to the underlying emotional issues that are causing the more visible side effects of trauma. Engaging in therapy or psychotherapy is a highly effective way to address these issues. Some of the therapies that are often used concerning crisis-related mental health issues are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). For those struggling with crises, group therapy has also been shown to be highly effective.
Overcoming the Effects of Crisis for Long-Term Recovery
Unfortunately, there is no easy way around dealing with crisis-related issues of mental health. Likewise, there is no going around the emotions associated with the crisis. They must be addressed head-on.
However, the process may not be easy. It offers an individual a way out of the heavy darkness that crisis has put them in. It is a way to go back out into the light and feel free again. It is a way to live a successful healthy life in the long term.
JFK once said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” For those struggling with crisis-related issues of mental health, time can be of the essence. Why wait until “when?” when we are in pain now?
When a crisis like COVID-19 strikes, it may be easy to ignore the effects that it has on our mental health., After all, there are often “more visible” issues that need to be addressed. For example, if it is a serious injury, then the physical wounds must be addressed. If it is the death of a loved one, after-death care must be attended to. Additionally, if it is a crisis on a global scale, like the COVID-19 Pandemic for example, there can be so much going on that even day-to-day activities can seem unmanageable. However, mental health must also be addressed in times of crisis, or it can have lasting psychological effects. For more information, call The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185.