Taking care of our mental health should be a priority for all of us. When we neglect our mental health, we’re at risk of never achieving the best version of ourselves. Our mental health challenges are also magnified in stressful situations, if we don’t address them properly.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of a stressful event that magnified our unaddressed mental health challenges. Stay-at-home orders, social distancing, quarantining, and remote work are just a few factors impacting our mental health today.
Navigating this new normal has also opened up an in-depth conversation on mental health. The pandemic changed the way we view mental health as a global society in a positive way. Here are three ways we view mental health differently since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mental Health Challenges are Real
Many people out there didn’t believe mental health challenges and illnesses were worth talking about, let alone real. But people who never experienced feelings of depression or anxiety a day in their life did during this pandemic. Those same people are now learning that mental health disorders can affect anyone at any time.
Mental health challenges are real and growing. This pandemic has highlighted disorders we’re familiar with. It also introduced new concerns like Zoom dysmorphia, a body dysmorphic disorder explicitly caused by interacting with others online and consistently seeing one’s face on the screen.
This pandemic has helped people accept the realness of mental health challenges. This makes it’s easier for them to acknowledge new concerns like the one above and be quicker to find a way to work through them.
We Need to Talk About Them
In addition to more people educating themselves on mental health challenges, they’re also seeing the need for deeper conversations about them. There’s a shame around mental health. People think that if they acknowledge their difficulties, it makes them crazy or solidifies something is wrong with them.
But the more we talk about mental health, the more we understand how untrue this stigma is. COVID-19 has given us the opportunity we needed to openly talk about mental health and help one another through our challenges.
We’re talking about options for coping with our mental illnesses more openly. For example, how to outsource tasks at home and at work to ensure you’re not overwhelming your mental stability and neglecting your work-life balance as you navigate remote work.
Resources Need to be More Accessible
“Going to therapy is just too expensive.”
“Why do I need a counsellor? There aren’t in my area anyway.”
“I can’t find a therapist who understands my cultural values and challenges that come with my specific background.”
“There aren’t any offices with late hours.”
“Can I pay on a sliding scale?”
People fail to prioritise their mental health because of the above reasons and more. Two of the biggest reasons are affordability and accessibility. All of us can benefit from mental health resources, but those who need them the most seem to be those who can’t access them.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us all how vital equality is in healthcare services or mental health resources.
It opened up a conversation about getting mental health resources to everyone in an affordable fashion. Healthcare professionals worked diligently to come with creative ways to offer quality healthcare to everyone.
Telehealth for mental health purposes such as for therapy or counselling became more prominent during the pandemic. These services are accessible to anyone with a smartphone or device with a video and internet connection. They’re also highly affordable and mindful of those with limited financial resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the way we all connect, communicate, and navigate our daily lives. Although it’s presented obvious challenges, COVID-19 prompted us to change the way we view mental health and support one another through concerns. We’re having open conversations about the reality of mental health, acknowledging its realness, and fighting for resources to be accessible and affordable for all.
About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S.
She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to health and wellness, including mental health awareness and addiction education.
You can follow Jori and learn more about her on Twitter and LinkedIn.