The mental health help that you need is out there.
Overcoming The Mental Health Challenges During Covid 19
Let me tell you a story about covid 19 – the public health crisis that shook my personal life and the whole world. It was the biggest cause of my stress, anxiety, grief, and feelings of hopelessness. Do you want to know more? Continue reading below. We might have experienced the same mental health challenges during that global pandemic.
When the covid 19 happened, I naturally had to stop offering counseling advice. A few nurses and other mental health professionals at the university hospital that I grew close to told me that some of my regular patients were sad due to my physical absence. I kept on thinking about how I could provide counseling and treatment during the pandemic without putting my health at risk and contracting covid 19 myself. I knew that my clients were under a lot of stress and anxiety and the challenges that the global pandemic brought about were inevitable. They had no access to in-person sessions in counseling services and most of them had difficulty coping with the emotional and mental health challenges that they faced.
Then, one day, I thought of utilizing an online platform for patients who required treatment and counseling during covid 19. This was so that one way or another they could maintain the counseling services that they had before the pandemic. Its success could play a crucial role in helping them maintain strong client/counselor relationships as well as the individual’s other relationships as well.
Counseling During Isolation – Innovating With A Helping Hand
Since I had contact persons at the hospital, I asked them to talk to some of the COVID-19 patients and families and ask them if they wanted to join group counseling sessions during the global pandemic. This was one way to support them in these trying times. They could still avail themselves of professional counseling services and continue treatment if necessary. Or they might just want to learn more about the prevention of covid 19, how to maintain emotional and mental wellness, or simply wish someone to assist them in improving their coping skills.
The sessions were done during their stay or after getting discharged. Many clients answered positively – be it students or parents – so I began allocating two hours of my day to talk to these clients via Skype. The topics were never set in stone, considering my clients had different worries every day. Sometimes, we would chat about how the pandemic altered their lives; other times, I would help them realize that there’s a way out of their situation – their stress, anxiety, and other negative personal feelings. I would also provide them with helpful information about the warning signs and symptoms of the disease, how you develop it, how to manage stress and do appropriate self-care, and ultimately how to maintain optimal mental health wellness.
Getting mental help during COVID has been a struggle for everyone. Counseling plays a crucial role.
The thing that bothered me the most was the reaction of my friends who were not in the mental health counseling practice – it added to my stress! While my colleagues and the medical staff at the hospital were commending me for my helpful contribution to the community, my friends were calling me the modern martyr. “Why are you even risking your personal life and your own health over something that you cannot make money from? Does counseling them satisfy you? Perhaps you’d like to do other activities that are more worthwhile. This is the pandemic! You are just wasting your time and your precious health. Leave this practice of yours,” they often said.
Counseling During COVID/Receiving Counseling Services
Benefits Of Online Counseling Support Amidst A Public Health Crisis
I could tell that the reason behind it was that I always declined to meet my friends since I always had online group sessions to focus on after my actual working hours. I had no in-person sessions but I still had responsibilities toward my clients in helping them lessen their stress, anxiety, and other concerns. However, even without that, I would still say no. Gathering at such a crucial time seemed to defeat the purpose of social distancing and lockdowns, after all.
In case you are also wondering why patients need counseling, allow me to spell it out for you.
Why I Did Not Stop Providing Professional Counseling Assistance To My Clients
Why counseling during the pandemic?
Clients experience emotional challenges due to discrimination from other community members during this public health crisis. I have already given my friends’ reactions as an example of that above. And if I were one of the teachers in college and they were my students, I would willingly sanction them with disciplinary actions. On other occasions, some of my clients have been called names or blamed for contracting covid 19. I know I play a crucial role in alleviating their feelings of insecurity and loneliness. I assist them the best way I can by providing them with helpful resources about their health and wellness. I guide them towards emotional healing. I know how relevant this professional counseling practice is to their emotional and mental health.
Instead of making the patients feel better despite the pandemic, though, such harsh words only feed their anxiety, and eventually, more stress may develop. This results in a longer recovery time for them, given that they need to nurse their health and wellness and their broken heart. Indeed, online counseling sessions are needed during these troubled times. Treatment may even be necessary for those with extreme anxiety and stress.
People Assume That They’re Okay After Recovering From Covid 19
People are quick to assume that they are okay as soon as they test negative for COVID. However, the reality is that they may still feel weak after weeks of being ill. The stress and anxiety are most probably still present, and the recovered person may still be coping with the residual symptoms of the disease. And the truth is that professional advice on coming to terms with their feelings through counseling sessions is tremendously helpful for them.
The key idea here is that you should never jump to a conclusion regarding a COVID-19 client. A person may seem fine on the outside, but he may still be reeling from everything that has happened to him. And more often than not, that’s when he will need your support the most.
Having COVID-19 And Going Through Mental Health Challenges Can Be Traumatizing
Dealing With The Situation Is A Must To Manage Stress
Yes, testing positive for COVID-19 can be traumatizing for many reasons. For one, the swab test is quite painful. Then, you need to stay in an isolated room for weeks, not just days with no access or contact with other people.
And if you get the severe symptoms, you may actually feel closer to death than ever. The crisis IS real.
Even when the pandemic ordeal is over, you may develop stress, anxiety, and paranoia afterward, considering you may keep on worrying about catching the virus again. For parents, this is devastating for their students as well. Hence, when you need a counselor to assist you during anxiety or panic attacks, it’s time to start learning some tips and coping mechanisms through counseling.
Final Thoughts And Takeaway
Life will undoubtedly get better when you get mental health help for COVID. Still, it will not hurt to get in touch with a COVID counselor as you try to process everything and return to society and practice counseling.