Men and women living with behavioral and mental health disorders such as depression face enormous challenges of late. The COVID-19 pandemic has put billions of people worldwide on high alert due to the knowledge that everything can change in the blink of an eye. An ever-present fear of contraction, loss of employment, communal division, intractable lengths of isolation, and loss of life has become the new normal.
People are suffering mentally and physically at unprecedented rates. What’s more, many find it exceedingly challenging to cope with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. If one is unable to manage symptoms, they are at a significant risk of adopting unhealthy behaviors and patterns such as alcohol and substance abuse.
At PACE Recovery Center, we have a first-hand understanding of what can happen when an individual lives in the depths of despair. We fully grasp the dangers that prolonged states of loneliness and uncertainty can have on those who battle mental health disorders.
While it’s still possible to turn to professionals and mutual-help groups for support, most people are unable or unwilling to reach out for the help they need. We cannot stress the importance of finding the courage to seek assistance, especially now.
Anxiety and Depression On the Rise in America
Even before COVID-19 became a part of the national vocabulary, depression was a severe public health crisis. In the past, we have shared that depressive disorders are the leading cause of poor health worldwide. Now, amid a global pandemic, it will probably not be a surprise to learn that anxiety and depression are on the rise in America.
In any given year, one in five Americans contends with mental illness. One-third of Americans are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. With roughly 3.5 million documented coronavirus cases in America and more than 130,000 COVID-19-related deaths, daily feelings of stress, loss, and fear are commonplace. Moreover, tens of millions of Americans lack the tools to cope with the new normal healthily.
It’s quite understandable the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause significant stress and psychological distress for a large proportion of the population,” says Maurizio Fava, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “And we know the rates are progressively increasing.”
In a June Massachusetts General Hospital press release, Dr. Fava explains how the pandemic has led to a rise in depression in America. The causes include but are not limited to:
- Social Distancing
- Infection Fears
- Grief and Trauma
- Financial Woes
The psychiatrist adds that unemployment, housing insecurity, and loss of community can be catalysts for depression. While Dr. Fava finds the increase in depression understandable, he also shares that there is hope in the form of mindfulness and telehealth for those suffering.
Coping With Depression is Possible
One of the most significant obstacles to finding recovery is stigma; judgments and public misconceptions stand in the way of accessing support. Shame is a roadblock during the best of times, but it’s compounded today by a bogged down healthcare system.
There is still a stigma to depression and anxiety. So many people experience this stress, anxiety and depression, and don’t necessarily talk about it,” says Dr. Fava.
Some may find it even more challenging to find in-person professional support of late. Still, anyone living with mental illness can take steps at home to combat their symptoms. Whatever your situation is, you can benefit from being mindful of well-being. Small actions can have a considerable impact on your ability to cope with fear, grief, and trauma.
When dealing with mental illness, it’s vital to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining good nutrition habits, recommends Dr. Fava. He adds that having an exercise routine can help you relax. People struggling with anxiety and depression can also benefit from mindful meditation and prayer.
Statewide “stay at home” orders have led to a dramatic increase in virtual support networks and telemedicine use. Dr. Fava points out that Mass General psychiatric providers now treat 97 percent of patients virtually. In March last year, only five percent of patients utilized telepsychiatry.
While research indicates that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person therapy, not everyone is responsive to the impersonal method. Fortunately, addiction and mental health residential treatment centers are still accepting new clients.
Mental Health & Mood Disorder Treatment for Men
If you are facing severe mental health challenges, you can benefit from a comprehensive treatment program. We strongly encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about PACE’s Residential Mental Health Program for Men. Our skilled team of masters and doctorate-level clinicians can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery.
Many men living with depression use drugs and alcohol to cope; thus, they are prone to develop a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder. Our supportive staff understands the difficulties you are facing today and can equip you with the tools to cope in healthy, non-self-destructive and defeating ways.
During these unprecedented times, we offer a full spectrum of programs from teletherapy to residential treatment for addiction and mental illness.