It is a vast understatement for me to say, “These are very strange and difficult times.” It’s impossible to scroll through your news feed or turn on the television without being reminded of the pandemic. “Stress” is not even an accurate word to describe the current state of affairs. “Fear” is a better description. There is no frame of reference for the health concerns, the economic consequences and the social isolation we have to navigate. We have never been here before. None of us are immune to the impact of COVID-19.
It is also nearly impossible to avoid the continuous focus on mental health problems that accompany this time. As a therapist and veteran provider of mental health programs, I am grateful that light is shed on mental health.
However, the term “mental health problems” implies that the anxiety, stress and depression you experience right now is abnormal. Yet, in the midst of this disaster, anxiety, stress and depression are completely normal. If you are struggling right now, it is because you are supposed to be struggling right now. You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. The psychological description of your reaction is “affect appropriate to situation.”
Make no mistake, getting professional support right now is a really good idea. But you are not crazy. You are not automatically worthy of a “diagnosis.” And you may, or may not, need a full-blown therapeutic assessment. It’s much more likely that you could benefit from some education, skill building and coaching. Of course, there are cases that warrant a traditional clinical workup. I believe in the diagnostic, prescriptive clinical model, when it is warranted. I deliver the clinical service when it is warranted.
But there must be something in between “I don’t need any help” and “I am in a psychiatric crisis.” Providing education, awareness and coaching support is simply the right thing to do. It’s the responsible way to approach our modern-day challenges. It is very difficult to raise your hand for therapy. Whether we want to admit it or not, the stigma surrounding mental health is deeply ingrained in our society.
This is why youturn is developing new stress management and emotional wellness content. Many people know us as the substance misuse and recovery experts. For good reason. We are accomplished providers of all aspects of awareness, education and support in the substance use domain. What is less well known is our deep commitment to all aspect of psychological wellness. Also, all the founding partners are open about their own struggles with stress, anxiety, depression and many other “matters of the mind.” We get it.
We are in this together. Each and every one of us must attend to our emotional health. We all need to be utilizing stress-reduction strategies and improving our coping skills. A little education, coaching and support can go a long way.
youturn is the place to go if you want to thrive. Not just survive. Check us out/for more information: https://www.youturn.net.