Back in January of 2019, 11% of people said they felt some level of anxiety and depression. Fast forward to January of this year and that number has jumped to 41% of people. Dr. Gail Saltz, mental health expert says it has been a traumatic year. People have suffered tremendous loss this year. Loss of feeling safe, loss of physical health or family members or loved ones, economic strain and loss, or job loss. Dr. Saltz says people have been increasing aware of systemic racism and what that’s engendered. So many things have gone on this year with great uncertainty about when, if ever, it is going to come to an end, that it has precipitated this pandemic of mental health issues of depression, anxiety disorder, substance use and abuse is way up, domestic violence is up. She says all of the issues that give people like her concern.
Dr. Saltz says she is a great proponent of self-care, aerobic exercise multiple times a week, deep breathing to relax yourself, talking with family or friends for support. But once you are feeling these feelings every day for a couple of weeks, such that they are interrupting your ability to enjoy anything you used too, work productively, and be with family in a productive way. If you are irritable and having angry outbursts, if you can’t concentrate, and therefore can’t read, can’t watch something, can’t work productively, these are signs and symptoms that something more is going on that probably isn’t going to be handled by selfcare. Dr. Saltz goes onto say there are lots of different treatments out there, psychotherapy, medications, that are very effective.
Dr. Saltz says lots of people have misconceptions about mental health care. They think if they go in they are going to be in there forever and I don’t want that but that’s not true. Most psycho therapies are time limited. People think if they take medications it is going to change their personality and that’s not true, She goes on to say there are a lot of misconceptions about mental health care that keep it stigmatized. Dr. Saltz says that is part of the reason she is partnering with nextgen Healthcare this month to really talk about stigma and how we need to move beyond that. Close to half of all Americans, at some point, will struggle with a mental health issue. It is such a common medical problem and so we need to move beyond the stigma and people need to understand that they can get a time limited, a timely and affordable mental health care treatment that can make a huge difference in their lives.
She says if you know someone; if you are close to someone who is struggling, it is best to go say something to them like hey I really noticed this and I really want to help you and I even help you find someone or help you set up an appointment because sometimes, when you are really depressed or really overly anxious, distraught it can be hard to organize yourself enough to find the care.