Mental Wellness: 2021 and beyond
Events over the past year have made life more challenging.
Isolation and losses have been hard, and getting back to normal activities after vaccination may pose its own challenges.
Add in changes to our social and political landscapes that affect groups differently, and it’s lot to deal with – especially for those living with preexisting mental health conditions.
Mental health isn’t always visible on the surface, and it can be easy to overlook – both in others and in ourselves. Read below on how you can ask #OneMoreQuestion to bring the care and self-care our world needs today.
- If you need more support, contact your primary care or behavioral health provider.
- If you have a PacMed primary care doctor, you can ask them for a referral to our behavioral medicine department.
- In a crisis, call 911 or utilize the “Crisis Resources” on this page to get immediate help.
Read below for specialized mental health resources that may apply to your situation.
According to Columbia University, African Americans experience higher rates of anxiety and depression, and are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems. This can be heightened now, as COVID-19 has taken a greater toll on Black communities than others.
Yet, the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) points out that only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it.
These facts can be traced to systemic inequities in almost every area of life, including health care, justice and policing, employment opportunities, historic abuses by the medical community and more. Over time, living with these factors can lead to Racial Battle Fatigue.
Asian Communities, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, Latinx communities, Muslim communities, Jewish communities, women and others may also face unique mental challenges related to historic, systemic and/or ongoing marginalization or victimization.
NAMI Seattle has a list of local mental health resources that may be helpful for seeking specialized support.
Changes to our routines and social landscapes can be difficult for children to understand.
You’re not the only family going through this. Take time to read up on expert advice strategies, or share your own to help others.
- Dr. Chen-Milhone: Sleep training for infants… and parents
- Dr. Nawal Alkharouf: Family-friendly summer fun during COVID-19
- Dr. Alexander Hamling: Kid-Creative Holidays
- Great ideas to keep your kids active
- “Kids are very accepting as long as the adults around don’t freak out.”
Teens and young adults have special needs as they transition to adulthood and start taking on making sense of the world for themselves.
This can be especially hard during times of upheaval.
- Chuck Potrykus, MA, LMHC: Talking to teens during COVID
- Jack Shriner, LICSW, CMHS: Is my son depressed, or just lazy?
- ParentMap’s Expert tips on managing family conflict in quarantine
PacMed’s Jack Shriner also talks with Warm 106.9 on how life can be a challenge for youth:
The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted many areas of life. Here are some resources for the various challenges you may be facing.
- Simon Katumu, DNP, FNP-BC: Mental Health Awareness during social isolation
- Rene Czerwinski, LMHC, NCC: Venturing Out After COVID-19 Vaccination
Getting moving and spending a little bit of time outside each day can help “prevent feelings of being boxed in or restless” during COVID-19, says PacMed’s Alex Majcher, LICSW, MS. This was supported by a new study by Columbia University Medical School, covered in Health Psychology and the New York Times, showing that exercise can boost your mood. Curious how to exercise safely outside during COVID-19?
- Dr. Chris Maeda: Tips on Outdoor Exercise during COVID.
Grief and Loss
According to Harvard, the discomfort of living during COVID-19 is an ongoing process of grief. This is true whether we face the loss of routines, financial stability, personal health or the passing of loved ones. Local author Jessica Mooney writes in Seattle Magazine that we are also mourning the future.
- Rene Czerwinski,LMHC, NCC, writes on Coping with loss during COVID.
While the changing situation in the world remains out of our control, we can use the time-tested practices of mindfulness to find inner calm through turbulent times.
- Christy Goff, MS, RDN, CD: Tips to Reduce Stress During the Pandemic
- Book review: Fight fear with radical acceptance
For those new to mindfulness, PacMed lead psychotherapist, Jack Shriner, recommends the following resources:
- Intro to Mindfulness. Providence resource with a definition, basic exercises, good books and apps to get started.
- Insight Timer. An app featuring guided meditations, classes and talks by meditation teachers on how to face the pandemic with equanimity.
- Quarantine Tips & Tricks. Article on staying healthy inside for times you or loved ones are stuck at home, by Jennifer Stern, LICSW.
We have a full team of behavioral medicine providers ready to schedule time with any patients who also have a PacMed primary care provider. See below or learn more about them at www.PacMed.org/mentalhealth.
*Please note, the information provided on this page and any links you click on are for educational purposes only. They are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult a health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation.
If any of the content on this page triggers you in any way, or you need immediate support, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK) or see the other “Crisis Resources” on this page.