The importance of caring for mental health was underscored by the pandemic, which affected emotional well-being in people of all ages at all levels of society. Those effects raised awareness of the importance of mental health care. Paul Crosby, Lindner Center of HOPE CEO and psychiatrist says that has everything to do with the pandemic. “If everybody had one thing in common during the pandemic, it was mental health. Not just the pandemic itself—jobs, their families, and a lot of people missed out on milestones,” says Crosby. “It all contributed negatively to many people’s mental health [and] it normalized the discussion of mental health and mental illness in a way that we’ve never seen before.” Although stigma around mental health lingers, the walls are slowly coming down. Crosby talks about the trends that make mental health care more accessible
Technology offers access to mental health tools and care
Apps like Headspace and the Calm app have created at-home solutions to mindfulness, which Crosby says is one of the most important skills to tackle regardless of diagnosis. The apps offer a safe space for people to take small steps towards making changes and understanding themselves. Technology has also accelerated the pace of telehealth, which allows patients to see doctors without traveling to an office. While it was a necessity during the pandemic, patients often feel more at ease in their own home. In fact, Crosby says it’s beneficial for the mental health professional to get a glimpse into the patient’s home life.
Companies adopt mental health programs
Mental health is no longer an add-on, it’s a necessity. According to Crosby, businesses are realizing that a mentally healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce. “Many employees are insisting on having mental health benefits,” adds Crosby. “Everyone is impacted by their mental health and a lot of businesses are seeing that as essential. Many have reached out to us to help them work on that within their own organization.”
Increased focus on children and young-adult mental health
The younger population was among the hardest hit from the pandemic. Children were out of school for prolonged periods of time, stressors at home increased, many families experienced job loss along with insecurity related to housing and food, and at least 300,000 kids lost a primary caregiver due to COVID, says Crosby. “Even before the pandemic we had a crisis in children and adolescents,” adds Crosby. “The second leading cause of death [in children] was suicide and remains the second leading cause. The rate is increasing—a conservative estimate is one in 10 thinks of committing suicide frequently. That’s both astounding and probably an underestimate.”
Get screened and seek professional help
While these trends and the increased conversation around mental health issues are signs of progress, Crosby recommends getting screened if you’re suffering distress and that you suggest mental health intervention to loved ones if you see them struggling. Contact Lindner Center of HOPE and visit the Lindner Center of HOPE website to learn more about treatment.