Category Archives: Mental Health

“The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running: Now What can the pandemic teach us about how people respond to adversity?” – Scientific American

“Research has shown that when faced with potentially traumatic events, about two thirds of people show psychological resilience.”

biggest experimentPhotograph by Ethan Hill

by Lydia Denworth

“The impact of ­COVID-19 on the physical health of the world’s citizens is extraordinary. By mid-May there were upward of four million cases spread across more than 180 countries. The pandemic’s effect on mental health could be even more far-reaching. At one point roughly one third of the planet’s population was under orders to stay home. That means 2.6 billion people–more than were alive during World War II–were experiencing the emotional and financial reverberations of this new coronavirus. “[The lockdown] is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted,” wrote health psychologist Elke Van Hoof of Free University of Brussels-VUB in Belgium. The results of this unwitting experiment are only beginning to be calculated.

“The science of resilience, which investigates how people weather adversity, offers some clues. A resilient individual, wrote Harvard University psychiatrist George Vaillant, resembles a twig with a fresh, green living core. ‘When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead it springs back and continues growing.'”

Read this article at Scientific American in its entirety.

 

“Health experts on the psychological cost of Covid-19” – The Guardian

“On top of the mounting statistics looms a further casualty of the pandemic: our psychological wellbeing. Will we be able to cope with the fallout?”

healthcare workers covid“Health workers receiving applause outside the regional hospital in Málaga, Spain. – Photograph: Jesús Mérida/Sopa Images/Rex/Shutterstock”

by Sean O’Hagan

“On Instagram, a friend posts a photograph of a male nurse in an intensive care ward of an American hospital. He is wearing full protective clothing and holding up a patient questionnaire on which he has scrawled a message for his colleagues. It reads: ‘Just going to hold his hand for a while, I don’t think he has long.’

“On an Irish radio station, a woman reads a poem she has written for a loved one lost to the virus. It is called My Sister Is Not a Statistic. It begins:

Tomorrow, when the latest Deathometer of Covid is announced in sonorous tones,
Whilst all the bodies still mount and curl towards the middle of the curve
Heaped one atop and alongside the other
My sister will be among those numbers…

“On Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, a critical care nurse from Sierra Leone, who works in a hospital in the south of England, describes the frantic chaos of the first few weeks of the pandemic. ‘We didn’t have equipment at all, but our ordinary aprons and gloves… I’d go in there praying and hoping I don’t get infected. Then I’d go home, praying and hoping, and trying to isolate myself from my daughters so I am not passing it on to them.'”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Guardian.

 

 

“lonlieness and the absence of touch” | COVID-19 yields

covid senior despair(Hannah Norman / KHN Illustration)

by Judith Graham

“As states relax coronavirus restrictions, older adults are advised, in most cases, to keep sheltering in place. But for some, the burden of isolation and uncertainty is becoming hard to bear.

“This ‘stay at home awhile longer’ advice recognizes that older adults are more likely to become critically ill and die if infected with the virus. At highest risk are seniors with underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung or autoimmune diseases.

“Yet after two months at home, many want to go out into the world again. It is discouraging for them to see people of other ages resume activities. They feel excluded. Still, they want to be safe.”

Click here to read this Kaiser Health Network article in its entirety.


“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” – The Scientist

“Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.”

by Ashley Yeager | in The Scientist

“It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“’Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,’ says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

To continue reading this article at The Scientist, click here.

New resource for reaching veterans with behavioral health conditions

older veteran behavioral

Click to download this New resource for reaching veterans with behavioral health conditions: In a collaborative initiative with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we helped create a new overview of the programs, services, and agencies helping veterans with a variety of behavioral health issues.

“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” – The Scientist

“Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.”

HUGS

by Ashley Yeager

It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being. Arms outstretched, I walked quickly toward my dad, craving his embrace. In the instant before we touched, we paused, our minds probably running quick, last-minute calculations on the risk of physical contact. But, after turning our faces away from each other and awkwardly shuffling closer, we finally connected. Wrapped in my dad’s bear hug, I momentarily forgot we were in the midst of the worst global crisis I have ever experienced.

“’Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,’ says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Like more than 35 million other Americans, I live alone, and with the guidelines of physical distancing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I hadn’t been getting close to anyone to avoid being infected with (or potentially spreading) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I’d been working, thankfully, at home and staying connected with friends and family through Zoom and Skype, but those virtual interactions were no replacement for being with loved ones in person.”

Click here to read this article at The Scientist in its entirety.

 

“COVID-19 Has More People Seeking Out Therapy For First Time” – Newsy

covid-19 mental health

“Newsy’s latest poll found around 1 in 10 sought out therapy since the pandemic began.”

by Lindsey Theis

The COVID-19 pandemic has led more people to try therapy for the first time in their lives.

“‘As we stabilize their psychosis and you continue to speak with them, you get down to it and they’re like, ‘”I was really anxious, over COVID,’’ said Dr. Eric French, Medical Director of Adult Psychiatry at Colorado’s Medical Center of Aurora.

“Newsy’s latest poll found around 1 in 10 (12%) sought out therapy since the pandemic began – with 46% saying it was their first time seeking it.

“Among those who sought out therapy, men were significantly more likely than women to get therapy for the first time (63% vs. 21%). Traditionally, men are much less likely to see a mental health professional.”

Read this article in its entirety at Newsy, click here. 

“Coronavirus pandemic takes staggering toll on mental health in US” – Live Science

mental health

“Daily life has been upended, creating a perfect storm for a crisis.”

by Jean Twenge

“When the novel coronavirus roared into the U.S., mental health took a back seat to physical health. The number one priority was making sure hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed and that as many lives as possible could be saved.

“Schools closed, remote work became the norm, restaurants shuttered and getting together with friends was no longer possible. The news cycle spun with story after story highlighting the ever-increasing number of cases and deaths, while unemployment soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

“Any one of these shifts could be expected to cause an increase in mental health issues. Put together, they created a a perfect storm for a crisis.

“Experts speculated as much, and polls showed that many people seemed to intuitively grasp the mental toll of the pandemic. However, data on mental health metrics was scant; we didn’t know the magnitude of any changes in mental health issues, nor did we understand which groups of people were suffering more than others.”

Continue reading this article at LiveScience, click here.

“Nearly Half of Americans are Struggling With Loneliness Amid Social Distancing, and Many Don’t Know Where to Find Help” – Value Penguin

mental health findings

by Stirling Price

“Loneliness is a feeling of sadness and unhappiness about being socially isolated. According to the Mayo Clinic, loneliness can be a serious health concern with long-term issues associated with depression and anxiety.

“With stay-at-home orders in place across America, ValuePenguin’s goal was to better understand how Americans are coping with the lack of social interactions. Our survey found that nearly half of Americans are struggling with loneliness amid social distancing, and many are feeling more anxious.

Read the article in its entirety, click here.

“Just What Older People Didn’t Need: More Isolation | The coronavirus pandemic could sharpen the health risks of loneliness. But there are ways to connect.” – The New York Times

“Now, older people have been sternly warned to adopt the very practices that … can endanger their health. With senior centers, day programs, theaters, parks, gyms and restaurants closed and most in-person visiting prohibited, they are enduring a lengthening period of social separation. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are barring family members.”

isolationStuart Briers

by Paula Span

“At midmorning, Lisa Carfagna, a marketing staffer for the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, took a brief break from working at home on Long Island and called the Rubins on the Upper East Side.

“They were doing fine, Seymour Rubin, 89, assured her over a speakerphone.

“‘We try to have a project every day,’ said Shirley Rubin, 84. ‘Today, I’m making a beef stew for the first time in 40 years.’

“‘If I’m here tomorrow,’ her husband put in, ‘you’ll know it was good.’”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

 

“COVID-19 could lead to an epidemic of clinical depression, and the health care system isn’t ready for that, either” – The Conversation

depressionHealth care workers, first responders and others on the front lines are at risk for depression from COVID-19. Here, a first responder in New York City is pictured March 25, 2020, outside a testing site at Elmhurst Hospital Center.” – AP Photo/John Minchillo

by Jonathan Kanter and Katherine Manbeck

“Isolation, social distancing and extreme changes in daily life are hard now, but the United States also needs to be prepared for what may be an epidemic of clinical depression because of COVID-19.

“We are clinical psychological scientists at the University of Washington’s Center for the Science of Social Connection. We study human relationships, how to improve them, and how to help people with clinical depression, emphasizing evidence-based approaches for those who lack resources.

“We do not wish to be the bearers of bad news. But this crisis, and our response to it, will have psychological consequences. Individuals, families and communities need to do what they can to prepare for a depression epidemic. Policymakers need to consider – and fund – a large-scale response to this coming crisis.

A perfect storm of depression risks

“Most of us know the emotional components of depression: sadness, irritability, emptiness and exhaustion. Given certain conditions, these universal experiences take over the body and transform it, sapping motivation and disrupting sleep, appetite and attention. Depression lays waste to our capacity to problem-solve, set and achieve goals and function effectively.”

To continue reading this article in its entirety at The Conversation, click here.