Confronting Mental Health #65

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Deepnews Digest #65

Confronting Mental Health

Editor: Christopher Brennan
It’s a subject that is not often talked about, and when it is, is often mentioned only in passing. However, the added pressure of the COVID pandemic means that many people are undergoing mental health challenges. This week in some countries marks Mental Health Awareness Week, the inspiration for this Digest. Gathered with the Deepnews Scoring Model, this selection of articles highlights some of the people who are researching what is happening, reporting the stories of those suffering, and exploring how to help.


Editor’s Note: We know that mental health can be a difficult subject to talk about, and that talking about it affects many people differently. The articles below deal with issues such as suicide and self-harm, which may be traumatizing for some. If you want to talk to someone, there are people who will listen available around the world. We also encourage feedback on this Digest through our Contact page.
Story Source
The Conversation
Coronavirus lockdowns are making the recovery of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence who have been forced to flee their homes even harder, according to our new research. Following a request by Refugee Women Connect, an NGO working with forced migrant survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, we undertook 97 interviews in the UK, Tunisia, Turkey, Sweden and Australia between April 14 and 28. The work builds on an ongoing research project we’re conducting with refugee survivors of sexual violence and the service providers which support them.

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NBC News
In the third week of March, he came down with a sore throat, mild fever, cough, chills and body aches. The coronavirus was just starting to spread across Illinois, shuttering schools and workplaces, including the clinic in DuPage County where he worked as a rehabilitation technician. It didn’t occur to him that he might have the virus, even after a co-worker tested positive. Paul’s symptoms came and went, and on some days he felt well enough to go on a 5-mile run.

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Channel News Asia
As informal initiatives spring up to help people talk about what they’re going through, many find it easier to open up than they thought. Can this change the approach to mental health after the circuit breaker?

Editor’s Note: Many of the articles on this list come from a medical perspective on mental health, though this piece deals more with the everyday and attempts to set aside specific time to talk more about these issues. Channel News Asia reports on the emergence of dedicated talk groups in Singapore. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Adweek
This Mental Health Awareness Month, consider your employees’ mental health during these trying times.

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The Conversation
A crisis is silently brewing in hospitals around the world, and it may not be exactly what you think. While the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to swell, the very treatments used to battle this deadly disease are triggering life-altering mental health effects.

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American Psychological Association
WASHINGTON – Nearly half of parents of children under age 18 say their stress levels related to the coronavirus pandemic are high, with managing their kids’ online learning a significant source of stress for many, according to a new survey by the American Psychological Association.

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Dawn (Pakistan)
While a small percentage of us will catch the virus, everyone will be psychologically impacted by it.

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MIT Technology Review
Take a deep breath. Now, tell me … how are you feeling? There are no wrong answers, and no one else needs to know. Give your day a score out of 10 if you can’t think of the right words. Even better, write it down. Set a reminder to write down how you’re feeling every day. Now you’ve started a mood diary.

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USA Today
COVID-19 has infected nearly 5 million people globally and killed almost 323,000. It can devastate a range of organ systems, including the lungs, the kidneys and the cardiovascular system. But for those who get very sick and are lucky enough to recover, the virus carries another potential danger — to mental health. Hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 survivors could be at risk for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. As the number of infections continues to rise steadily, this potential hazard will also grow

Editor’s Note: There are specific risks for those who have been hospitalized with severe forms of COVID. Here Dr. Joseph Bienvenu of Johns Hopkins discusses trauma and the need not to overlook PTSD. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Texas Tribune
Similar to nursing homes, residents and patients at state-run homes and psychiatric hospitals live in close quarters and interact closely with the staff who care for them. The 10 state psychiatric hospitals serve Texans with mental health issues. Across the 13 state supported living centers, which house people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, about 43% of the residents are medically fragile. Family members worry about rapid spread there, because depending on the severity of their disabilities, residents may not understand rules about hand-washing or maintaining a safe distance from others

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CBC
Dr. Kwame McKenzie says ‘stiff upper lip type messages’ may be a thing of the past

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Financial Times ($)
Mental health and financial problems are intricately linked.

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The Globe and Mail
Psychology researchers and those who study optimism say there are both advantages and disadvantages to expecting the best – and to weather this COVID-19 crisis, a little pessimism may not be a bad thing.

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Forbes
Many doctors view medicine as a calling, entering the field with immense altruism paired with a passion for science and healing the sick. The erosion of these intrinsic motivators leads to burnout which psychologist Christina Maslach defines as a syndrome of emotional and physical exhaustion, depersonalization and diminished personal accomplishment.

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The Conversation
Health-care staff are trained to deal with whatever comes through the hospital doors. But COVID-19 is a completely different ballgame.

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USC Daily Trojan
For rising sophomore Sabrina Perla, the coronavirus presented both physical and mental obstacles. When she tested positive for the virus mid-March, her mental and physical well-being became inextricably linked; after her hospitalization due to the infection, she experienced a manic episode that led to a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: Before the pandemic, some of the places most talked about in terms of mental health were college campuses. Now coronavirus has disrupted everything, including university life and how students receive therapy. The Daily Trojan reports from USC. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Medscape
Pamela Montano, MD, recalls the recent case of a patient with bipolar II disorder who was improving after treatment with medication and therapy when her life was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. The patient, who is Puerto Rican, lost two cousins to the virus, two of her brothers fell ill, and her sister became sick with coronavirus, said Dr. Montano, director of the Latino Bicultural Clinic at Gouverneur Health in New York. The patient was then left to care for her sister’s toddlers along with the patient’s own children, one of whom has special needs.

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University College London
People taken ill by coronavirus infections may experience psychiatric problems while hospitalised and potentially after they recover, suggests an analysis of past research led by the UCL Institute of Mental Health with King’s College London collaborators.

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The Independent (UK)
The UK has so far spent nine weeks in lockdown, and while the government has started easing restrictions, the strict measures continue to have a negative impact on many people’s mental health.

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The Nation (US)
The pandemic also requires foster parents to inevitably put their health at a higher risk by providing shelter to those who may be on the verge of aging out of the foster care system, historically an age group of foster youth that already is less likely to be adopted or find stable home placements. This only heightens young adults’ fear and anxiety about being kicked out of the foster care system right now with no place to land, Rodriguez said. “Instead of this being…some kind of inconvenience for some people,” she said, “with foster kids, this is going to be drastically life-changing.”

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Japan Times
Health ministry statistics show suicides in April fell nearly 20 percent from a year earlier, countering widespread concerns the coronavirus pandemic would drive many to take their lives.

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London Evening Standard
With lockdown affecting the mental health of nearly half of the nation, its repercussions on our collective psyche could be severe. Laura Hampson investigates.

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Anadolu
Survey finds 53% of Spanish healthcare workers show signs of post-traumatic stress due to pandemic

Editor’s Note: Doctors and nurses around the world have been hailed as the heroes they are for responding to the pandemic and saving lives. However, as several articles on this list discuss, they are also bearing the burden mentally. Here Anadolu reports on a study from Complutense University of Madrid. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Reuters
Becoming a nurse in 2018 was a dream come true for William Coddington.

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Fox News
The global lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic has affected the mental health of many, especially children and teenagers, new research has found. According to data from athenahealth, children and teenagers that were diagnosed with ADHD for the first time rose 66 percent during March and April, while 41 percent of patient visits among children and teenagers also involved discussion of depression.

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