The COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague our country, and in most areas of the United States, the number of COVID cases continues to increase. In Savannah, masks are now required, and the number of COVID hospitalizations in all 3 of our city’s primary hospitals is steadily rising. As the pandemic rages on, many people are completely unaware of another pandemic that is sweeping through our country, a mental health pandemic.
Historically, mental health issues have increased when unemployment, substance abuse, and isolation increase. Another trend that has been documented in previous times of crisis is that mental health issues generally begin to surge several months after the initial trigger. This is currently what is happening in our country. Businesses continue to close their doors, and social distancing is still strongly encouraged, which feeds feelings of isolation. Alcohol sales are at an all time high as people look to substances to mask the pain and stress they are feeling. These occurrences, which are a direct result of COVID-19, are causing a surge in mental health issues in the Savannah area and across the country. In fact, one recent poll shows that over half of all Americans admit that the COVID-19 has significantly impacted their mental health. Research also shows that those at the greatest risk for mental health issues during the pandemic are the elderly, adult males, teens, and health care workers.
One of the most alarming trends that is currently being seen in the area of mental health is the suicide rate (click here for the Suicide Hotline website). Statistics show that in the past, as the unemployment rate drops by 1%, the suicide rate increases by approximately 1.5%. This is an alarming statistic as unemployment has significantly risen in our country. Mental health professionals in the Savannah area are also seeing many cases of anxiety and depression as people try to cope with all of the chaos, uncertainty, and isolation that is now part of our everyday lives.
At Water’s Edge Counseling, we are beginning to see more and more individuals, couples, and families in our area reach out for help during these times. Some of these clients are coming to us in a state of crisis, and others are seeking out help before they get to that crisis state. Our therapists want to encourage you to see your mental health as a vital part of your well being. It needs to be cared for and nourished, just as your physical health does, especially during this time. As stressors in your life increase, you need to make sure that you are giving this stress an outlet. Schedule a regular time for activities that help you relieve stress. Some of these activities may include exercise, painting, listening to music, or journaling. Giving your stress a consistent outlet will keep those emotions from becoming bottled up inside. Another way to care for your mental state is to stay connected to your support system, whether it be family, friends, or your church or another group. Let your support people know that you value them and need them during this time and then have regular times to meet with them, social distance style, and talk with them about how you are doing.
If you feel that your mental health is affecting your daily life in a negative way, or if you are feeling alone and unsure of how to handle life right now, please reach out to us. We are here to help you care for your mental health during this stressful and uncertain time in our world. We would love to support you and help you through the difficult times that may be going on in your life right now. Please give us a call at 912-319-5552 if we can help you. We would love to walk this journey with you!