According to the World Health Organization (WHO), following the COVID-19 pandemic, the current number of those experiencing depression and anxiety worldwide is approximately 264 million and growing. In the United States, depression is the leading cause of disability, while anxiety disorders affect 18% of the adult population.
Despite these numbers, almost 50% of those experiencing mental health concerns do not seek assistance. A SapienLabs study reveals that among the top reasons for this is not knowing what kind of help to look for and where they can receive it. Therefore, it’s important to underscore that there are many avenues through which you can find help and support during troubling times. With that said, here are some options you can consider:
Family and Friends
According to a recent Forbes survey, 25% of Americans fear being stigmatized for their mental health. This fear causes most to keep their concerns secret, even from their nearest and dearest. However, your family and friends can be your first line of help in such situations. Since these people, arguably, know you best, they are well-suited to understanding the many aspects that could be causing your mental health struggles. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to tell all your family and friends. Choose to share only with those you truly trust. So, if that means you only want to tell one person, that’s fine! What’s important is that you now have someone you can open up to. And this person may even impart some valuable advice.
Join a Community
Since loneliness and isolation are among the most common depression triggers, it may help to join a community of like-minded people. Being in social circles that share your same interests can be a way for you to make new friends, build support networks, and uplift your mood. Socializing can help cognitive function, boost happiness, and increase overall wellness. Some communities are even targeted towards holistic well-being, such as book clubs, fitness centers, and places of worship. For instance, in the case of a church, the pastor’s teachings and the congregation’s support can help you find meaning and mindfulness. According to author Theresa Chueng’s piece on uncertainty, mindfulness and meaning are among the empowering M words which we can use to survive alienating crises—like mental health struggles.
Because mental health is extremely nuanced, you may find that a healthcare professional is the most capable of providing specific care. While psychologists and therapists are some of the most well-known professionals, many options cater to a variety of patient preferences.
For instance, a lesser-known but equally capable healthcare resource is psychiatric nurses. These practitioners have completed an RN to BSN program to earn advanced skills in patient assessment, research, genetics, and psychology. This enables them to specialize in psychiatric care, thereby qualifying them to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication. And in some states, another mental healthcare option is psychiatric pharmacists. These advanced pharmacists have graduated from a doctor of pharmacy program and have specialized in mental health. These professionals may be a viable choice for patients dealing with substance abuse or addictions that require sensitive medication management.
Mental Health Apps
With over 20,000 mental health apps available, you can find specific platforms such as mood trackers, AI chatbots, and even chat apps featuring licensed therapists. Most of these apps are free or come with a reasonable membership fee, but they are especially convenient given their smartphone compatibility. Some of the most popular apps are Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Daylio. Just remember to be very careful when sharing your private data and information online.
Experiencing mental health issues can feel very isolating, confusing, and even shameful. However, for the sake of your health, these conditions must be treated properly. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to try any of the options mentioned here. You may not find an easy fix, but knowing where to get help is the first step to feeling better.