The need for mental health services has never been more evident than when the country went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic. Human beings suddenly found themselves isolated from the public. The stress of quarantine and fear of the pandemic have traumatized many people. Some people developed depression, some tried to cope by turning to substance use, and even more continue to live with increased anxiety. Not a single person escaped the lockdowns without at least some sort of challenge, and it has forever changed the lives of people seeking mental health care.
Perpetuated Mental Health Issues
Those already undergoing treatments for their mental health suddenly find themselves unable to receive the care they are used to due to restrictions on occupancy and social distancing. Many places scrambled to set up and provide services for telehealth, which allows someone to receive forms of psychotherapy. For facilities that could not keep up or implement telehealth in time, they were forced to close their doors and wait until they could open them again. For a while, restrictions relaxed, only to tighten up again with each new strain of COVID making rounds in the population. This has made seeking reliable, consistent mental health care uncertain for many people in need.
Dismantle the Stigma Of Mental Illness
One of the reasons there is a lack of resources in dealing with mental health is the ongoing stigma of mental illness and those that struggle with it. People that live with a mental health disorder are no different than someone with a broken leg, they need treatment to heal, and the brain is just as important as any other part of the body to be cared for. Someone with a mental health disorder needs special care just like any other ailment and deserves dignity and respect.
If you notice someone using ableist language or exhibiting cruelty to someone with a mental illness, remind them that such behavior will not be tolerated. Lead by example, and with every new person educated about mental health, the stigma will diminish.
There are several official organizations out there that focus solely on mental health issues. These organizations are constantly conducting research in the effort to understand mental illnesses and find the best ways to treat them. Organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) routinely fund and publish new research available to read to the public. Sometimes, they look for volunteers to participate in a mental health research study or bring awareness to current clinical trials. If you or someone you know might be interested in getting involved with research, keep an eye out for any participation openings.
Become an Advocate
There are several ways that someone can become an advocate for mental health in both big and small ways. Simply speaking up for those who are struggling and being supportive can help immensely. After all, sometimes someone just needs a sympathetic ear to listen to them and offer encouragement. Some organizations allow donations and memberships to help fund treatments and research across the country.
The NAATP Foundation and SMART Recovery offer ways to fund the ongoing efforts of offering care to those who need it. Some also accept members to participate in politics, such as organizing writing campaigns and petitioning those in government to allocate more funds for mental health services. There are many ways to advocate, and no matter how small the contribution, know that it matters a lot to someone who needs it.
Consider a Career in Mental Health
If you or someone you know is a compassionate individual with the drive to care for and help others, they may be a perfect candidate to enter the mental health field. With a shortage of skilled providers, it’s important for those with the traits needed to consider training and study. It’s not only therapists who are needed, but crisis hotline workers, researchers, and others that contribute to the ongoing efforts to increase access to mental health care. With an increase in providers, there will be an increase in facilities to offer care.
The world of mental health care has been forever changed because of the pandemic, but strangely, it brought more awareness to the importance of mental health. With programs like telehealth becoming available, treatment has become accessible to a wide range of people. More people are speaking up about the need for better funding for mental health care. Despite it all, there is a feeling of hope, as people are working hard to make a positive change in the world for those who need it most.
With the ongoing pandemic, it may feel like there’s nowhere to turn for help if you are struggling with a mental illness. For those who have loved ones that are struggling, it can be a terrible feeling to not know how to help them. At Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, professional staff is waiting to help. Whether you are a person seeking help for yourself, or someone seeking to help others, we at Acera Health have the knowledge you need to help you achieve your goals. We are constantly seeking the best treatment options available to provide compassionate and effective care for those who are struggling. If you would like to learn more about how to seek help to improve your mental health or want to know how to advocate for those that are still struggling, call (949) 647-4090 today.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.