Taking care of oneself in the midst of stigma and a pandemic

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There has been a stigma around getting mental health treatment for quite some time. Many people view seeking mental health services as a weakness or feel alienated and deemed as “sick” for admitting to an issue. Healing emotional issues is just as important as physical issues and deserves to be treated the same. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It does not mean just one month in the year to seek help, but a time where we can advocate for and draw attention to the importance of seeking help.
“You are not alone. Do not wait to reach out and seek help before a small problem becomes a larger problem affecting your physical, mental, and social health.” Said Nikita Duke, DNP, PMHNP-BC, Director of Behavioral Health, Fast Pace Health.
COVID has increased stress and anxiety for many individuals and families due to dramatic changes in school and work environments, plus increased social isolation from families and friends. What most people do not realize is how closely our emotional health is tied to our physical well-being too. If you are not mentally healthy, you may not be able to care for your family, give work the focus it needs, or even take care of one-self. Many who are battling issues with depression and/or anxiety experience a decrease in the desire to exercise, get out of the house, spend time with family and friends, or find activities that are relaxing and calming for themselves. People under stress also experience an increase in actual physical muscle tension, getting irritated easier, have a change in appetite, and/or a change in sleep pattern.
Over the last several years mental health has been gaining more attention and receiving the discussion it so desperately needs, but we still have a way to go to overcome the stigma that comes from, reaching out for help. To add to the already pre-existing stigma of mental health issues, 2020 also brought us COVID 19.
The complications from lockdown, the stress of losing jobs, trying to finding childcare or teaching our children from home, and being told we need to avoid family gatherings and travel increased the need for mental health services.
Finding a mental health professional over the last several years has also been another task. Many rural areas do not have the availability of a qualified Behavioral Health provider in their area. Many people also face challenges with transportation issues, finances, or PTO to make their appointments. Since the pandemic, the adoption of telehealth services has grown significantly. This route of service has increased the ease and ability of making it to an appointment.
When the pandemic began Fast Pace Behavioral Health took steps to expand from the previous in-clinic virtual services only to now offering at-home virtual sessions too. Clients now have the choice of seeing a mental health provider virtually in the anonymity of a local Fast Pace Health Clinic or in the comfort of their own home. The Fast Pace Behavioral Health team is composed of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Licensed Clinical Social Workers who are available to help with your needs for medication management and/or counseling. The team at Fast Pace Behavioral Health can see an array of symptoms and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, Bipolar, adjustment disorders, and many others. We accept many Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid insurances with plans to continue to expand our coverage. If you do not have insurance, we also offer affordable self-pay options.
We take both outside and inside referrals. You can talk to a provider at your local Fast Pace Health clinic, call our Behavioral Health Team directly at (855) 560-4999 or visit www.fastpacehealth.com/behavioralhealth to schedule an appointment or to find additional information.