How Will We Collectively Address The Growing Mental Health And Addiction Issues

Even though we may feel that it’s safe to venture out into the world again, as COVID-19 and its variants seem to be frittering out, the results of this global pandemic will be felt for a long time to come. Mental health issues are widespread, with the CDC revealing that “about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression compared to one in 10 adults who reported between January and June of 2019.” Experts around the world are concerned for the young people growing up in the pandemic and post-pandemic environment.

I am concerned about how we, collectively are going to address and help those who are suffering now and those who are sure to suffer later in ways we cannot yet anticipate or imagine.

How Will A Generation Weaned On Uncertainty Find Its Strengths

In a recent article, “a consultant clinical psychologist in the U.K. working with adults and children, told CNBC that he believes it will take “at least a generation” to resolve the damage to many young people caused by missed milestones and experiences crucial for development.” According to the consultant, Alex Desatnick, “Kids who grew up in this state, in this condition, and those things that they were deprived of, they will take this with them through life.” He adds, “I hope that as a society we will do as much as we can to compensate for what happened to them and is still happening.”

The same article talks about numerous studies that have been conducted throughout the world on the impact COVID has had on mental health. One study looked at the global prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. It found that “mental health dramatically declined in that year, with an estimated 53 million additional cases of major depressive disorders and 76 million additional cases of anxiety disorders seen globally. Women and younger people were found to be affected more than men and older adults.”

Many psychologists and psychiatrists have reported an inability to help the influx of people seeking mental health support during the pandemic. One psychologist working in New York said, “There’s definitely a huge mental health impact from a long period of uncertainty and change that’s left people very isolated and not sure how to connect. That created a big pressure cooker, especially for people who already have a vulnerability.”

One Grassroots Organizations Is Doing Its Best To Reach And Help The Vulnerable

I am actively involved in the grassroots organization Same Here Global, dedicated to normalizing the conversation around mental health issues. The organization is founded on the knowing that “Everyone in the world is affected by life’s inevitable traumas and stresses. We can’t escape them, as they are part of the human experience, and they impact us on many levels. Mental health exists on a continuum, with some simply experiencing more severe declines than others over varying periods of time in their lives (and/or being more genetically predisposed to such declines.)”
We are all in this together and together we will be facing the results of this devastating period which has been the cause of so much unprecedented change and uncertainty. I know that we human beings are capable of growing stronger through facing our fears and our uncertainties. I am betting on that strength and calling on everyone to dig deep and find theirs and help the most vulnerable ones in your lives.