By Cheri Hinshelwood
5 Ways to Show Support in Stressful Times
1. Communicate. Stop by, call or stay in touch.
2. Connect. Share time or an activity.
3. Don’t try to fix it. The best thing you can do is listen.
4. Encourage physical activity.
5. Ask how you can help. And then follow up.
When the world is in turmoil, mental health takes a beating. Loss of control, isolation and stress are key contributors to anxiety and depression. “These cause a chink in our mental health armor,” said Tiffany Bush, a Program Coordinator for the Outpatient Behavioral Health Program who also holds licenses as a clinical mental health counselor and clinical addiction specialist.
“People who don’t normally struggle mentally have been recently,” said Bush. “Uncertainty is affecting mental health, especially with limited social outlets.”
The stigma around mental wellness means watching out for others is more important than ever. Genetics or situational events like trauma or abuse also cause mental issues. “When someone is struggling, it’s hard to say ‘I’m not okay and I need help,’” said Bush.
Bush encourages patients to self evaluate these three areas daily: emotions, connections and physical sensations.
Emotional changes like more crying, anger, or extreme sadness or apathy signal trouble. Changes in your people connections and losing interest in activities show distress. Finally, physical changes like difficulty concentrating, fatigue, decreased appetite, sleeping too much or too little, and significant weight loss mean trouble.
Three red flags for two weeks warrant calling a mental health professional. “Get immediate help if your loved one talks of death or harming himself,” said Bush.
“My hope for anyone struggling is that they realize their potential, build on their strengths, and learn to adapt to their individual struggles so they can find their purpose,” said Bush.
New Virtual Services offered by Mission Hospital McDowell
Weekly Group Anxiety/Depression Sessions: Available for people participating in life but feeling depressed or overwhelmed. Participants learn coping skills in one-hour sessions with up to 12 people.
Weekly Individual Sessions: One-hour sessions available to individuals for confidential counseling.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program: Available to those with a dual diagnosis offered three times weekly for five to eight weeks.
All virtual sessions are offered through secure and HIPAA-compliant technology.
Tiffany Bush is a Program Coordinator for the Outpatient Behavioral Health Program at Mission Hospital McDowell.
For a screening or to learn more about the Behavioral Health Services at Mission Hospital McDowell, call 828-655-2585.