With the recent health, economic, and racial turmoil throughout the U.S., some experts are suggesting that our nation’s next major crisis might be about mental health.
According to a recent study from the American Psychology Association,(APA), 83% of Americans say that major issues such as Coronavirus, protests, and economic woes are significant sources of stress.
Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr, Ph.D., who is APA’s chief executive officer, says “We are experiencing the collision of three national crises—the COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil and recent, traumatic events related to systemic racism. As a result, the collective mental health of the American public has endured one devastating blow after another, the long-term effects of which many people will struggle for years to come. We don't have to be passive players in mitigating the rapidly increasing stress Americans are facing and its consequences on our health.”
(Doctor Wilfred van Gorp,Ph.D)
Even at the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health experts predicted and did see an increase in the need for therapy. In an interview with Fox News in early April, New York City and Chicago based therapist, Dr. Wilfred van Gorp, Ph.D., Director of the Cognitive Assessment Group and former President of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, discussed the influx of new patients who had issues coping with Coronavirus and quarantine.
“For people who tend to minimize it and so forth, it's really not, a small thing,” he told Fox. “This is a big deal and it's important that we try to cope the best that we can." '
Another study, from the John Hopkins University, found a large and increasing number of adults were reporting serious psychological issues, that could have long-term effects.
Beth McGinty PHD, an associate professor at John Hopkins University and one of the researchers, said, “The study suggests that the distress experienced during COVID-19 may transfer to longer-term psychiatric disorders requiring clinical care. Health care providers, educators, social workers, and other front-line providers can help promote mental wellness and support.”
She further added, “We need to prepare for higher rates of mental illness among U.S. adults post-COVID. It is especially important to identify mental illness treatment needs and connect people to services, with a focus on groups with high psychological distress including young adults, adults in low-income households, and Hispanics.”
In the earliest staged of the pandemic, which hit New York hardest Dr. Van Gorp was often asked to offer some advice for people to follow in order to help them weather the effects of isolation and other negative societal aspects.
In an opinion editorial published by the New York Daily News, he wrote: “The first approach should be to try to gain a sense of mastery amid the uncertainty. Take charge of your situation by developing a daily schedule, initiating contact with friends, and loved ones, staying physically active, and learning new hobbies or pursuing other projects. People who feel they're a victim with no control over their situation are more at risk for depression and anxiety. Try to maintain a regular schedule of sleep. Fatigue increases anxiety and can alter your daily schedule in ways that lead to depression.”
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