A January 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll revealed that four in ten adults suffer from stress, anxiety, or depression caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. This number is a four-fold increase from one in ten adults in January 2019. These same stressed adults reported negative impacts to their mental health that affected areas of their sleep (32%), their eating habits (32%), alcohol consumption or substance abuse (12%), and a worsening of their underlying chronic conditions (12%).
Fear, isolation, loss of life and income have triggered mental health conditions and exacerbated existing ones in workers and families across the country. Coronavirus has disrupted mental health services in countries from all over the globe. This is why I thought it was important for my next two guests, Janis DiMonaco, Ph.D., the founder of HMC HealthWorks, and Stephanie Straeter, Ph.D., the clinical director of Behavioral Health and Wellness at HMC HealthWorks, to come on the podcast to talk about the need for mental health care, behavioral coaching, and patient advocacy.
In this clip from Mental Health “Help” Care in the Age of Covid, Dr. Jan explains how workers under added mental stresses with underlying health conditions are “ticking time bombs” and could see their conditions worsen.
“Don’t be a Ticking Time Bomb”
During the pandemic, the statistics of workers and adults under mental stress is startling. The Kaiser Family Foundation study revealed that young adults between 18-24 were twice as likely as other adults to report new or increased substance use (25% vs. 13%) or to have suicidal thoughts (26% vs, 11%).
Compared to nonessential workers, essential workers who work outside their homes and run the risk of being exposed to Covid-19 were also more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder (42% vs. 30%), new or increased substance abuse (25% vs. 11%), or recent suicidal thoughts (22% vs. 8%). More women than men reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder (47% vs. 38%). Minority groups were more disproportionately affected with Non-Hispanic Black adults (48%) and Hispanic or Latino adults (46%) more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder than Caucasian adults (41%).
If something good thing has come out of the pandemic, a spotlight is being shone on mental health issues. People seem more willing to talk about the mental component of healthcare, so there’s less of a stigma. In fact, network news programs have devoted time to this topic.
If you have underlying health concerns, now is the time to address them. Don’t be a ticking time bomb and ignore your health. I know this sounds cliché, but whether you’re struggling with your physical or mental health, please seek help.
If you’re feeling stressed and you’re not sure what to do or where to go, then I would urge you to start with a visit to the mental health page of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website:
The CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/index.htm
Whether you’re a member or you just want to find out more about their programs, you may want to visit the HMC HealthWorks website:
HMC HealthWorks website: https://www.hmchealthworks.com
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Statistics: https://tinyurl.com/4dmwc6vd
Listen to a sneak preview of the full episode of Mental Health “Help” Care in the Age of Covid, click HERE
Join the conversation. Be informed. Be inspired. Be part of the change!