Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19

covid mental health

As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital that we pay attention to mental health. Over the course of the pandemic, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, grief and depression have become common place. Not only are individuals worried for their physical health and that of their loved ones, they may also be experiencing financial instability, isolation due to social distancing and quarantine measures, or perhaps a sense of hopelessness. It is important to make some adaptations while we hope for brighter and safer days ahead. Doing so can greatly improve and protect your mental health.

Tips For Improving and Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19:

Ask for Help and Seek Mental Health Support

It can be really challenging to reach out and ask for help when you are struggling. While it may not feel comfortable, asking for help when you need it is the most important tip on this list. Asking for help can start small with things like asking a partner to assist you with a task around the house when you feel overwhelmed. Asking for help may also mean contacting a mental health professional for professional mental health support.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or fear that you may, ask for help by utilizing mental health crisis lines and support networks. Here are some crisis lines that you can keep handy:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255);
  • The Trevor Project: (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ individuals under the age of 25.) 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678.
  • Veterans Crisis Line:
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline- (Provides treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing mental health or substance use disorders.) 1-800-662-4357
National Helpline
National Helpline

Stay Social

Social distancing measures, while working to keep us safe and protect our health, have left many people feeling isolated and lonely. It is important to maintain social contact as best as you can during this time. Here are some ideas for staying socially connected, while socially distanced:

  • Talk to your friends and family and determine a day and time that is open for everyone. Schedule a weekly video chat to catch up.
  • Find online virtual gaming spaces where you can play games with your friends or family online together. Set up a weekly game night.
  • Where you would normally text, try calling where you are able to instead, so you can have more of a socially connected conversation.
  • Have themed video call “parties”. You and your friends or family can dress up according to the theme, and show off your outfits during the video call. This can be a fun way to get out of your typical routine and comfort zone!

Limit News Intake

It is important to stay informed during this time, to make sure you are taking the proper steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. However, the constant influx of COVID-19 news can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. Limit your news intake if possible by setting a designated amount of time per day, perhaps one hour, to catch up on news. Receive your COVID-19 important news and updates directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, as opposed to watching lengthy news presentations. Limiting your news intake, can be really beneficial to your mental health.

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Why LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapists are Important

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Why is an affirmative therapist important?

For many people, the process of finding a therapist can feel confusing, but the process of finding a therapist you trust can feel downright daunting. This can be especially true for the LGBTQIA+ community.  (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other sexual, romantic, and gender expansive communities).  The LGBTQIA+ community as a whole faces various health disparities, largely due to higher rates of discrimination in the health care field, which includes mental health. Many individuals have experienced discrimination either first hand or vicariously. Even just the potential for discrimination is enough to deter LGBTQIA+ individuals from seeking mental health care when needed.

Struggles with Mental Health Access and the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQIA+ individuals being deterred from seeking mental health care is particularly troubling due to the fact that this community is exceptionally vulnerable to mental health struggles. The community is more than twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders in their lifetime, compared to heterosexual, cisgender people. It is crucial to point out here that being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is NOT a mental illness or disorder by any means. The way society treats LGBTQIA+ people contributes to the increased vulnerability for mental health struggles. The problem does not lie in their identity, the problem lies in how society often fails to affirm, support, celebrate and love their identity.

What is am Affirmative Therapist?

An affirmative therapist understands the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, and understands the barriers and challenges they face. An affirmative therapist helps to navigate challenges and views mental health struggles from this perspective. They do not make any attempt to change someone’s identity. Affirmative therapists celebrate and support all aspects of identity, and seek to nurture self acceptance. Affirmative therapists view LGBTQIA+ identities as perfectly valid, and reject the idea that being heterosexual and cisgender is the “normal”. 

Why is an affirmative therapist important?

An affirmative therapist can provide a safe, supportive space for individuals struggling with identity. Thus they encourage you to explore gender, sexuality and other aspects of their identity without judgment. Not all  LGBTQIA+ people seek therapy for reasons related to their identity. However, having an affirmative therapist means they don’t have to teach their therapist what it means to be LGBTQIA+. Also, they don’t have to fear judgment when speaking about sex, gender, attraction, relationships, or any part of their story.  This frees an individual to explore themselves fully,. It also allows you to heal pain, to improve mental wellbeing, and to be seen fully and authentically. Having an affirmative therapist means experiencing true, deep empathy and celebration of their authentic, beautiful self. For many LGBTQIA+ people, this can be life changing, and even life saving.

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