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Health, Mental Health and Resilience during the COVID-19 Times: 

 

 

I just listened to a very good webinar provided by my professional association, American Psychological Association, A.P.A., regarding “telehealth”. Some psychologists, including myself, have already been utilizing such platform of service delivery, Telehealth. However, we all had to learn about this new way of working with patients: Not just the technicalities of telehealth, but also when to use, with what types of patients, and in what circumstances. There are many ethical and professional issues involved in using telehealth in psychology (and in other health related fields), and the seminar was very informative about our professional obligation and ethical standards with the new times, with the Pandemic that we find ourselves in this world. I am very pleased to inform you that psychologists are prepared to continue working with their patients and with new patients through telehealth in these very difficult times. 

 

I wanted to share with you that families are very involved with the day-to-day “new normal”: children are home from school and attending school on line (for elementary school and older children), parents may be working from home (if they are lucky to have that luxury), there is no other child care available (not even grandparents who are not supposed to be exposed to their young grandchildren), and people may be losing jobs and income. So, due to the very stressful times, it is important to be reminded that mental health difficulties may increase or just appear in these difficult situations. This is why I am writing to you today, i.e., to talk about how a psychologist can be of help in these difficult times, and how it is done via telehealth. 

 

1.     Having symptoms of despair, depression, anxiety and sadness (also anger) is a common reaction to such stressful times. These symptoms are part of the normal reaction to a situation that nobody ever expected to face (for the last 100 years in this country). Thus, understanding that it is ok to feel sad and anxious is what most people (if not all) experience in this health crisis we are having in the whole planet. 

2.     Having the possibility of talking about these feelings and using a professional’s expertise to help put in perspective and to work with a specific individual about their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors associated with the current situation may be helpful. Why is that? Because each individual brings with him/her coping mechanisms, resilience, and some areas of difficulty when dealing with a new situation. Thus, developing flexibility, resilience, and counting on support from family and friends in such times of isolation is extremely important. 

3.     Of course, the young generation knows very well how to deal with social contact without having social closeness as teenagers and young adults have been communicating on social media for years. However, we have to pay attention to the older adults and the elderly who are actually isolated and who cannot have any physical contact with their families or friends. They are the ones who may be depressed, and they are also the ones who are most vulnerable to getting sick with the virus. So, it is important to develop a plan for the elderly. How can someone who never touched a computer learn to go on a “Zoom” or “Go to Meeting” tele chat with a family member? So, if you have an elderly parent, family member or friend, maybe you can help with getting a platform for communication with that person during this very hard time. 

4.     Parents with young children find themselves in tremendous stress. They may be at home all the time, and the routine of waking up, going to school (or preschool), going to work, and then the end of the day has been changed. Families spend all the time together, and in some cases, inside a small apartment without being able to leave their home for a walk or to practice sports. If you are young parents (or parents of teenagers), and you are feeling tremendous stress that is having implications in your behaviors and possible unhealthy habits, it is a good idea to consult with a professional such as a psychologist or another mental health worker who may be able to help you with coping skills to deal with this very serious situation. 

 

 

I will send you another article afterwards that covers general suggestions for families, adults, and older adults on how to deal with the situation of COVID-19. Please, if you have any questions or comments, you can email me at vera@verajoffe.com or call my office at 954-4156157. I am providing services via Tele Health and because I understand that people may not have the privacy of receiving psychological services during the day (because they may have their children at home), I can accommodate and offer services during the evening hours as well. 

 

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