How COVID-19 eliminates the stigma of mental health issues in the U.S.

Key points

  • During COVID-19, stress and anxiety are increasing rapidly.
  • As more people experience emotional difficulties, mental health may become more stigmatized.
  • Employers and individuals need to carefully study how people view mental health.

Adapt to work at home, deal with unemployment or work long shifts as frontline workers. Spend too much time with family or feel lonely. Try to manage family education and childcare, or wonder when you can see your grandchildren again.

Everyone’s COVID-19 experience is unique in terms of work and family challenges, but one aspect of this epidemic seems quite common: people are struggling.

Dr. Cheryl Carmin, a psychologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said: “We don’t operate like this at all. There are so many uncertainties.” “The brain likes routines, knows what will happen next, and is familiar with It’s understandable to fall into the opposite situation so quickly, and it can cause quite a lot of anxiety, fear, and stress.”

This reaction is so common that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a section on the mental health impact of the epidemic on its coronavirus page, including:

  • Difficulty falling asleep or concentrating
  • Worsening chronic health problems
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Increase use of tobacco, alcohol or other substances

With so many people under greater pressure and at a loss, the stigma of mental health seems to be reduced. Carmin said this may lead to more people seeking help with mental health issues.

“For many people, stigma has always been a huge obstacle, especially because some people may think they will be punished by their employer or they are weak in getting help,” she added. “But it is likely that greater acceptance of mental health care is part of the new normal.”

How are Americans different

Dr. Denise Rousseau said that due to COVID-19, individuals, families, companies, and insurance companies are facing potentially different mental health conditions. Therefore, compared with other countries, the United States is likely to study the ways of dealing with emotional problems here in more depth. Professor of Organizational Behavior and Public Policy at Heinz School of Carnegie Mellon University. This may have a profound impact on the way mental health treatment is handled here.

“For example, in Europe, mental health is seen as the responsibility of the community, while in Asia, it is seen as the responsibility of the family, but here, it is seen as a challenge to the individual,” she said.

“Because of this, the overall feeling of support may be reduced, especially from employers and from friends and family,” Rousseau said. “Someone may think that he or she will be hindered by losing opportunities for promotion, being seen as vulnerable, and losing the respect of loved ones. This belief may be everywhere.”

Looking for a new mindset

Rousseau added that another challenge facing the United States in the pandemic is that grief here is unacceptable. There is a positive culture that is almost toxic to those who experience normal feelings during a pandemic, such as sadness, loss, pessimism, and anger.

Dennis Rousseau, PhD

Low mood is part of life. Actively solving problems is not a problem, but an admission that we can’t be happy all the time. Mental health is not about making people feel optimistic anyway, but about building resilience. This is expected to become more prominent when we get through this difficult time together.

— Dennis Rousseau, PhD

Carmin said that with the increase in stigma and cultural changes, shared traumas and feelings of experience make it easier for people not only to talk about their own struggles, but also to recognize these problems of others.

She said: “COVID-19 has triggered a conversation that needs to take place long before the pandemic breaks out.” “We are talking about what employers should do, what public health officials should do, what role healthcare providers can play. We talk about It’s sympathetic to fatigue, anxiety, depression, all these difficult topics. It’s easy to understand that all are open.”

What this means to you

If you find yourself struggling with emotional and mental health challenges in this uncertain and turbulent period, then you are certainly not alone.

Please contact your health insurance provider to find out what types of mental health services may be covered-especially since that coverage may have expanded in the past few months.

Consult your primary care doctor or other healthcare provider for appropriate referrals. Normally, you can conduct telemedicine conferences even for new patients. Even if you are not ready to take the first step in getting mental health services, it may be helpful to know in advance which resources are available and what their coverage is.

However, if you have any suicidal thoughts, please do not delay treatment. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 provides 24/7 assistance.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may receive updated information while reading this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit our Coronavirus News page.