What Is the Future of Pandemic Mental Health?

Health experts across the country agree: we are in the midst of a mental health pandemic and have good reason to believe that this mental health crisis will lead to increasing cases of grief.1 throughout the year.

This debilitating disease now affects more than 17.3 million American adults, according to research2 showed rates tripled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many suffer – a staggering 6.2 million3 – cannot find relief using antidepressant medications. Depression treatments are not just a measure of everything. As we rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever that clinics look closely at our patients and their needs to ensure we explore all available options as closely as possible. , to give them the best chance of relief – and likelihood of being forgiven – from this disease of many dangers.

The Two Health Crises

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Because the physical count of COVID-19 is so high, mental health factors are often ignored and not given priority when the fear of contracting the virus permeates every element of life. With the closure of businesses, schools became virtual and quarantine orders expanded, the impact of the pandemic snowballed. Young adults saw major milestone events, such as graduations or proms, canceled and 46 percent of parents4 said their teen was showing signs of deteriorating mental health. Parents are forced to juggle their careers and child care, causing increased depression, stress, and loneliness.5 Unemployment also contributes to increased rates of depression or anxiety1 at 53.4 percent.

Apparently, sadness and anxiety are not the only lasting effects. We have seen patients come back, relying on the use of medication in an effort to alleviate the feeling of hopelessness brought on by pandemic uncertainty. In fact, recent statistics show 13 percent of adults6 returned to the ingredients last year to help themselves cope.

What Happens Next?

Now that vaccines are underway and people are slowly moving on to a little normal, many may start to feel better, but for others, the battle for mental health will continue. This pandemic has affected us all, but our forward-looking workers, especially those in health care, are the ones who have experienced unprecedented stress. As a result, I expect to see an increase in post-traumatic stress symptoms.7 of employees ahead and the long-term effects on their overall mental health.

Switching back to pre-pandemic lifestyles without having the opportunity to properly process what has happened in the past 15 months and the grief and pain that accompanies it can be dangerous. As rates of depression rise, so does the need for treatment, ultimately resulting in a lack of mental health professionals equipped to support sufferers. In my region, the number of patients has increased rapidly. We are fortunate to have relied on the telehealth technology that has become popular over the past year to help us connect and provide critical care.

Aaron M. Hawkins, MD, The Hawkins Group

As housing orders began to take place and people were seen confined to their homes, many mental health professionals remained open to self-care. Clinics in unoccupied areas are beginning to schedule virtual appointments to reach patients who may not be able to receive human care-and the use of telemedicine is skyrocketing.8 as a result.

Thanks to its benefits and convenience, this increasingly new technology has become a more widely accepted method of care among my patients who understand the importance of seeking help but are not yet comfortable returning to treatment. self. Given the increasing number of practices that safely see patients on their own, I predict that most patients will return to human care in the coming months, and telemedicine is a good option at the moment. . I also believe that reliance on telemedicine for ethical health care will not outweigh the pandemic, especially for sparsely populated areas and with remote employment expected to continue.

A Rise in Treatment Options

While it appears that we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are still struggling with mental health disorders and looking for new treatment options. Because statistics show prescription medication doesn’t work for all distressed patients – in fact, research has shown9 the tendency to forgive drowsiness in distressed patients who have not benefited from multiple trials of antidepressant medication – one of my main recommendations for adult patients struggling with depression who do not benefit from antidepressants is TMS therapy. TMS therapy, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a non-drug, non-invasive treatment that uses a magnetic pulse to stimulate areas of the brain that are inactive in depression. Of my patients being treated NeuroStar Advanced Therapy since opening my practice in early 2020, we have seen a 70 percent response rate and over a 50 percent remission rate. And this is only the beginning. It is important that both clinics and patients are aware of this technology. Hope is not lost when drugs fail.

While the first TMS device received FDA approval in 2008, it still seems to be an unknown treatment option in patients and sometimes even clinics. I’ve heard colleagues say that they know about living electroconvulsive therapy, but not TMS therapy – which means there’s a chance to improve our conversation about alternative treatments for depression. In my practice, we recognized the critical need for education and launched a campaign designed to raise awareness about TMS therapy among fellow health care professionals, resulting in interest from local universities that want information that can help their students.

Given the growing prevalence of grief within the U.S., and the likelihood that cases will increase, physicians are wise to help reduce harm by informing patients of non -medical treatment options, such as TMS, as early in their treatment journeys as possible. TMS is safe, effective and easy to use. It is covered by most primary predictors, has no side effects that are often associated with antidepressants, and patients can go home on their own after treatment.

We all agree that the “end” of the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean a magical and seamless switch back to life before the pandemic. That change will be a slow one because the impact of the past 15 months can be long lasting, especially for those who feel unsurprisingly burdened on their mental health. The good news is that there is hope with TMS therapy. Forgiveness from loneliness is possible if we look beyond antidepressants and think differently about how we approach mental health.


  1. Panchal N, Kamal R, Cox C, Garfield R. Implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. Kaiser Family Foundation. Published February 10, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/
  2. Ettman CK, Abdalla SM, Cohen GH, Sampson L, Vivier PM, Galeo S. Prevalence of distress symptoms in U.S. adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Network opened. Published September 2, 2020. doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2020.19686
  3. Major Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Updated February 2019. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression
  4. Mott Poll Report / How pandemia affects the mental health of adolescents. CS Mott Children’s Hospital. Published online March 15, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://mottpoll.org/reports/how-pandemic-has-impected-teen-mental-health
  5. The Bargeron E. Survey showed single-parent households with young children carry the weight of COVID-related stress. Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families. Published online January 7, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2021/01/07/survey-shows-single-parent-households-with-young- Children-bear-the-brunt-of-covid-related-stress/
  6. Czeisler, MĖ, Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic-United States, June 24-30, 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published online August 14, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm
  7. Benfante A, Di Tella M, Romeo A, Castelli L. Painful stress among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: an analysis of immediate impact. Front Psychol. Posted online October 23, 2020. doi: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2020.569935
  8. Mochari-Greenberger H, Pande RL. Behavioral health in America during the COVID-19 pandemic: meeting increased needs through access to high-quality virtual care. Am J Health Promot. Posted on February 8, 2021. doi.org:10.1177/0890117120983982d
  9. Haddad PM, Talbot PS, Anderson IM, McAllister-Williams RH. Management of inadequate antidepressant response in depressive illness. Br Med Bull. Published online August 26, 2015. doi: 10.1093 / bmb / ldv034

This article originally appeared Psychiatry Counseling

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